“Nearly 60% of kids in America lack cardiorespiratory fitness.”
That’s the alarming warning issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) in July. It underscores why PE remains a critical component of childhood education despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has turned school into a virtual experience for most students.
The AHA goes on to note, “Healthy CRF [cardiorespiratory fitness] is linked to better heart and blood vessel health, academic achievement, mental health and many other positive outcomes in youth.” Studies have also linked better childhood CRF with clearer thinking, higher sense of self-worth, and greater life satisfaction.
On the flip side, kids who don’t get enough exercise are more prone to obesity and other health problems, both in youth and later in life.
Online PE allows greater personalization
At school, everyone does the same thing for PE whether they like it or not, so it’s easy for some kids to lose interest or to feel ashamed if they aren’t as adept or talented as others. Online PE eliminates those negatives, say teachers, because it is accessible and comfortable for all. Kids can perform in privacy, at their own ability, instead of competing with each other.
Instructors are following the lead of coaches across the country, who had to reinvent training and practice in the spring and summer to accommodate distancing requirements. That includes embracing online technology to provide virtual team experiences as well as individual check-ins with kids.
The emphasis now is on skill-building and on learning why and how exercise, diet, and overall fitness contribute to lifelong wellness. But kids are still expected to get up and move!
PE teachers are showing their creative side
Some schools are scheduling one day each week for PE, others interspersing physical activities to break up the day and keep the blood flowing, more like a typical school schedule. But what are they doing in that time?
- Changing up movement programs to work on cardio, strength and flexibility.
- Playing new types of games – teachers are giving students bingo squares or homemade decks of cards to randomly choose what type of exercise they will do next. Each square or card features a different fitness activity.
- Meeting virtually as a class to get their exercise assignment, then doing the activity on their own, then coming back together to talk about their experience. Assignments focus on results such as increasing heart rate, so kids can do whatever they want to achieve the goal.
- Taking it on the road – some coaches are converting their vehicles to mobile activity stations and visiting students in person so they get a workout and individual attention. Other coaches are holding in-person distanced workout classes with just a few students at a time.
Decorated gym gear is still a must-have
Designated, custom decorated PE/gym wear serves three purposes:
- It’s designed to ensure kids can be comfortable in a wide variety of exercise or sports activities, well-fitting without restricting movement.
- Like dress uniforms, it ensures everyone has appropriate attire while eliminating distractions caused by disparities in street clothing, so students can focus on what matters.
- School spirit! PE class may not be an official team, but kids can look the part even if everyone is exercising at home along with the group. Visible unity strengthens sense of cohesion and belonging that boost engagement. Kids feel more connected to one another as well as to the rest of their school community.
PE gear is just a click away, thanks to your SquadLocker store
Exercise promotes better health, reduces stress, and helps kids relax so they can do their best academically and feel good about themselves. And it’s so easy to outfit your students with approved PE clothes. Just add the items to your online store. Ordering for parents is fast, convenient, contactless, and delivered right to their door. Everything arrives custom decorated and ready for play, in class or on their own.
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