School’s Out, Now What?
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is coming to a close and all across the country schools and youth organizations have been working hard to make healthy changes to the school environment and the community where kids come together to learn, play, and socialize.
No matter what time of the year, physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. In combination with healthy eating, it can help prevent a range of chronic diseases. Physical activity helps control weight, build lean muscle, reduce fat, promote strong bone, muscle and joint development, and decrease the risk of obesity.
Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to grow up to be a healthy weight. Physical activity burns calories both during AND after activity. It must consist of not only aerobic activities that get the heart pumping, such as walking or bicycling, but also activities that strengthen muscles and bones and increase flexibility.
If you’re looking to stop summer “physical activity” loss for the youth in your care during their break from school then start planning now. The gap in the school year doesn’t have to mean our youth have to stop being physically active. It’s the complete opposite. Now youth have more time to get out, run around and enjoy being physically active all day with their friends and families. This is a great time to explore the many activities and offerings in your own community. Whether you live at the beach, in the mountains, in the city, on a farm – you can always find ways to get youth moving and having fun!
How can you help?
- Make sure the youth in your care are getting 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity.
- Remember - as part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity - be sure to include muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening physical activity on at least three days of the week.Help youth reenergize while being active by preparing healthy snacks ahead of time so they can just grab and go.
- Remind them that drinking water is not only an important beverage choice to limit sugary drinks, but it’s also crucial to staying hydrated while being physically active in the hot, summer sun!
Looking for more fun ideas:
- Check out Let’s Move Active Schools and sign up to receive resources and tips to stay active in school, out of school, and in the community.
- On rainy days, use the Fit for a Healthier Generation video series.
- Looking for a competition? Sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) challenge.
- Make Physical Activity a Part of Your Family's Summertime Routine.