Are you building your fitness resume? If so, consider leading group exercise classes at a local school. You would get to work with a population who is struggling with obesity—a population who needs you now more than ever! Imagine your reward when you help an overweight child breathe better, move faster, and enjoy being in motion? After all, isn’t this the reason why you began teaching in the first place?
The childhood obesity rate in the USA is staggering, as one child in three is considered obese. Yes, you read that right, 1 in 3 children are obese! BUT the encouraging news is that we are at the start of a movement—a movement to make our younger generations healthy again. As group exercise instructors, let’s get involved!
First, let’s get a better understanding of how our younger generations have reached this point by reviewing some facts from the Let’s Move website, a program launched my Michelle Obama.
Thirty years ago:
- More kids walked to and from school.
- More schools offered Physical Education classes.
- Fast food was rarely eaten.
- Portion sizes were significantly smaller.
- Screen technology was virtually nonexistent.
- More kids get rides in cars and busses.
- Physical education has been minimized or completely cut out of school curriculum.
- Kids eat 200 more calories per day in snacks alone.
- Portion sizes are five times bigger than they were in the past.
- Teenagers are engaged in at least 7.5 hours of screen entertainment per day.
- Only a third of high schoolers get the recommended physical activity.
THE GOOD NEWS
With all of this awareness, we are at the start of a shift toward regaining our youth’s health. In December, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces the long overdue No Child Left Behind law. With this new act, Physical Education will receive a renewed focus in our schools’ curriculum. This means that schools should be returning PE classes that were once cut due to funding. Although PE programs will be mandated, although not necessarily funded, this is still a positive step.
The bill passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support and is a big win for physical education. -National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity
But increasing PE in schools is just a start. Kids need more opportunities for movement before and after school. As a group exercise leader, YOU can help with this battle, while also building your resume.
A few years ago, a mom named Amy offered a weekly yoga session for my son’s first-grade class. She was able to earn hours toward her yoga training, plus add the class to her fitness resume. My son, Mason, returned home each day and demonstrated the poses he learned in class. It was clear to me that both Mason and Amy felt a sense of reward during that yoga experience.
For more ideas and guidelines on how you can get involved with group exercise in a school near you, read Bringing Group Exercise into Schools: Dance, Strength & Yoga. Check out our Fitness Education Directory and Choreo Exchange for youth fitness specific courses and class ideas.
As Michelle Obama says, “Let’s Move!
- Big Win for Physical Education – President Obama Signs Bipartisan, Every Student Succeeds Act
- Halvorson, Ryan. “Physical Education Gets Government Support.” IDEA Fitness Journal. March 2016, 13.
- Learn the Facts – Let’s Move