Back to School Exercise for Kids… and the Whole Family!

See You in September…

Ugh- that phrase made me cringe as a kid!   I’ll be honest; I hated back to school time.   It meant an end to freedom; to morning swim team practice followed by long days at the beach (mom was a school teacher, so she had summers off, too) and a significantly shortened amount of time to be physical.

            Yes, even back then, I found it difficult to be still and stay seated while listening to the teacher drone on about the Revolutionary War, frog biology and how clouds are made.

            Oh! I’d have given anything if only recess and PE could’ve taken up more than the 42 minutes we had back then in the late 70s – early 80s.

            (The one saving grace about September was the fact that it it’s my birthday month, but that didn’t make it any easier to head back into the classroom!)

            So it’s with this very topic, moving, in mind, that I thought of when I chose my blog strategy for these few posts: back to school and how that plays a role in how much moving we are actually getting in, both for the students as well as for parents.

            Let’s start with the kids: how much activity are they actually getting in?  

I was alarmed earlier this month when I was researching just how badly kids ate during the summer (turns out it’s worse than during the school year) as well as how little physical activity they’re getting when school’s out.

            And with the trend to cut time for physical education to increase time for other subjects, in the hope of raising standardized test scores[1] and the appalling state of the average school lunch, it’s horrifying to consider of what a day in the life of your average American kid in your average American public school might feel like on a daily basis.

            Oddly, it’s not that different than what I wrote about yesterday: being confined to a plane.

            Hear me out (can I still use that phrase in a written voice?): you’re stuck in a predominantly sedentary position, with little room for activity, with poor quality, tasteless food and then asked to concentrate.


            Just how little are kids moving these days?

            Most schools in the United States are not offering children the suggested amount of physical education, according to a new study[2], which examined all 50 of the United States and found six states where elementary schools followed recommended physical education guidelines. Two states followed the guidelines at the middle school level, and no states had strong enough regulations at the high school level.

            Interestingly, there are no federal requirements in place for physical education in schools, but The National Association of Sport and Physical Education[3] does have guidelines: 150 minutes per week for elementary school children and 225 minutes per week for middle and high school students.

Certainly, the solution to this situation is far more complex than just hoping the school district will add more hours of activity to the curriculum so it becomes all the more important to have good standards in place at home where parents and kids can implement them together.

            Moms and dads, this means you!

            Many of the clients I’ve worked with over the years have used summertime busyness with the kids as an excuse to not put themselves first (only in terms of making sure they get in their workouts or eat well).

            They’re too harried with swim team and tennis practice, and the kids’ crackers and cookies prove to be too tempting for the parents, too.

            But that’s the crux of the problem right there!           

            Are the kids going to the grocery store to buy the junk…err, ‘kids food’ or isn’t it the parents that are supplying it?

            If the whole family eats well together, stays physically active together and enjoys optimal health together, the entire unit as a whole serves to benefit.

Now is the time to get it together, for everyone!  

Even if you don’t happen to have the space for a vegetable garden such as that pictured above at The White House, you can find a way to maximize on what is available to you in your neck of the woods.

Need help?

Check out one of my Real Paleo Plans to create a template for the whole family!

[1] “Most Kids Don’t Get Enough PE, Says Study.” The Chart RSS. CNN, July 2012. Web. 02 Sept. 2015

[2] “Most Kids Don’t Get Enough PE, Says Study.” The Chart RSS. CNN, July 2012. Web

[3] “The Play and Playground Encyclopedia.” National Association for Sport and Physical Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2015