The kids are back at school, and even though the calendar says it's still summer, the relaxed vibes of summer are over when summer is over.
Understandably, much of society’s focus will be on COVID-19 safety, but returning to school is also a time to think about what other ways we need to keep students safe and build an environment that that’s inclusive of everyone.
Many pediatricians, educators, parents and other experts are now worrying about children's lack of physical activity in school. More and more students do not get enough sports and exercise opportunities during school.
In addition to kids opting for screen time over outdoor play and sports, school and homework increasingly have kids sitting in front of a computer, even when they are in-person. This reduces the time children have to engage in physical activity. In fact, worrying statistics show that students are sedentary at school and at home — a trend that has led to serious health problems. Here are some ways to encourage kids to be more active during school.
Don't forget the opportunities for physical activity on the way to and from school. Walking to school (or riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard) provides kids with all the benefits of other types of daily physical activity.
Playing on the playground after school can serve as an extra break. Participating in school activities like a baseball team or running club is another great way to get in shape.
Pickleball is a unique paddle board sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis for all ages and skill levels. According to the sport's governing body, the American Pickle Association (USAPA), the game has simple rules and is easy for beginners to pick up, but for experienced players it can develop into a fast, fast-paced, competitive game.
Walking and running are important components of pickleball. Increasing your stamina by continually going for a brisk walk or run will assist with your game when it’s time to get back on the court. Additionally, it’ll assist in your cardiovascular health.
Pickleball has a fun atmosphere for players or ‘picklers’ to socially connect. Picklers play in close proximity which makes the game more social and they enjoy chatting before and after practicing or games. It is an engaging way to meet new friends and enjoy the sport’s camaraderie.
Pickleball courts have been set up in community centres, YMCAs, and in gyms in schools across the country. Many communities are also adding lines to tennis courts so either tennis or pickleball can be played on the same surface.
There are a number of ways parents can ensure their children get enough physical activity at school, including urging teachers and school administrators to prioritize exercise. For example, if your child has a short recess, ask for an extended recess and/or add another recess. Let your principal know that you value physical education.
If you feel your school isn't doing enough to promote physical activity, see if other parents, teachers and school staff will join the cause. You can also reach out to your school board, local school district officials and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to share your concerns and get support.
While the motto of many parents is "do what I say, not what I do," as parents we have a better impact on our children by shaping the healthy behaviors we want them to do. Make sure you make time for exercise in your daily or at least weekly schedule and let your child see you doing it.