We Must Teach Students That Walking is a Form of Transportation

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In most of the world, people walk to get places. They walk to school, they walk to work. If they don’t walk, they ride a bike.

However, in North America, our car-culture has given us a generation of children who don’t consider their feet to be a mode of transportation.

The bus takes them to school. If the bus doesn’t stop at their front door, parents give them a drive to the bus stop. Mom and Dad drive them to activities – including sports activities. Their friends drive them to the mall.  They have the impression that anywhere worth going to is too far to walk, when in fact, that walk might take only 15 minutes. It may not actually BE a long walk, but it might seem far when you’ve only ever driven it.

One of the best things you can do in PE class is to make your students walk around your neighborhood. Show them how long it takes to get places.  Tell them to walk to the mall and time how long it takes. Walk for 15 minutes down a street. How far did they get?  Have them walk in the rain with umbrellas. Have them walk in the snow. Make these classes an exercise in transportation.

Show them that their feet weren’t just designed for standing…or even for sports. They were designed to get them places. And amazingly, their feet can get them places in bad weather. Show them that walking is basic human transportation…in addition to one of the best fitness activities they can perform.

These classes will give them a feeling of freedom when they realize they don’t have to depend on Mom and Dad to drive them everywhere. Tell them to think of it as an exercise in personal freedom and emancipation from their parents. That’s an easy sell for most kids!

Heck – during these activities, they may even walk by their house. The house they take a bus from every morning.

P.S. And yes, when I was a child, I DID walk 20 miles to school, in the snow, barefoot, both ways uphill. But that’s a story for another posting 🙂

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education,fitness,walking,youth fitness,[/tags]

Physical Education Excuse Notes Can Make Your Day

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Teachers receive excuse notes. Lots of them But the excuse notes for physical education class can be the most creative and entertaining of all. Here are some examples of actual excuse notes from parents—including the original spelling—collected by schools from all over the country.

  • My son is under a doctor’s care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.
  • Please excuse Joanne for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.
  • Please excuse Stephanie from Jim today. She is administrating.
  • Please excuse Sam from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.
  • Mike has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.
  • Brad was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.
  • Dana could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.
  • Please excuse Jim Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
  • Please excuse Albert for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.
  • Brent was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.
  • Please excuse Andrew for being. It was his father’s fault.
  • Please excuse Kim for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.
  • Please excuse Darren for not being in school yesterday. His father is gone and I could not get him ready because I was in bed with the doctor.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education excuse notes,physical education comedy,physical education humor,physical education humour,PE humour,PE comedy,Pe excuses[/tags]

Where Do All the Runners Go?

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I recently watched an elementary school cross-country meet and was struck by the amount of talent that ran past me. I don’t know what it’s like in your region when it comes to cross-country participation, but our elementary school numbers are quite high. The meets in our area regularly draw between 600 and 1600 runners.

Yet our high school participation has declined to the point that some age-group races have only 20 athletes standing on the line.

Where do these budding runners all go? Unfortunately, I know that most of those runners, even the talented ones, will not only be out of running, they’ll be out of any sport or physical activity by the time they begin high school.

Many will find their interests lie in other sports or fitness activities. If so, great! But most will simply decide that physical activity no longer fits their lifestyle. They’ll find part-time jobs for fun-money, or girl friends, or internet obsessions, or decide that the mall provides an easier way to meet members of the opposite sex.

And we make it too easy for them to stop, by not requiring physical activity through daily PE classes. Once broken, the exercise habit is hard to re-start.

How many of the kids who squander their talent every year could be future high school champs, college scholarship recipients of even Olympians.  And how many are relegating themselves to a life filled with obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other inactivity-related maladies! It’s heartbreaking when you think about it.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!
To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!

[tags]physical education,cross-country running,runners,youth fitness,youth inactivity,obesity[/tags]

Mandatory Physical Education Could Pay for Obama’s Health Care Plan

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There’s a tremendous debate going on in the United States regarding President Obama’s proposed reforms of their health care system. These reforms would provide medical coverage for the 50 million American’s who can’t afford health insurance.

It’s a debate that leaves most Canadians like myself – already beneficiaries of a public health care system – shaking our heads at the outlandish claims by the opponents of the plan. The idea, for example, that it will result in “death panels,” to decide who lives and dies, is ludicrous.

In fact, our system works. It’s not perfect and we may have longer wait times for certain non-emergency treatments. But generally, our system works. Canadians tend to live two to three years longer than Americans, and are as likely to survive major diseases such as heart attacks, breast cancer, cervical cancer and childhood leukemia. Our infant mortality rate is 34% lower than that in the U.S. and in terms of efficiency, our costs are 47 percent less per person.

And Canadians don’t live with the fear of losing our homes if a family member becomes unexpectedly ill. (Want to read about a typical Canadian experience? Check out this blog:
http://saunderslog.com/2009/09/11/the-truth-about-canadian-health-care/).

Obama estimates that his public health care plan will cost about $90 billion per year over the next 10 years. In fact, these figures might be low. Economist Len Nichols, of the non-partisan New America Foundation, believes the cost will more realistically come in at $125 billion to $150 billion per year.

But here’s an interesting fact. The latest estimate on the cost of obesity in America is $147 BILLION PER YEAR! That’s right – eliminating obesity and its related illnesses (heart disease, diabetes etc) could provide enough money to fund free health care for every man, woman and child in America!!

And where’s the best place to start the fight against obesity? In schools – organizations that affect almost every child in the country. How? Through mandatory, daily physical education, taught by qualified professionals whose goal is to instill the habit of lifetime fitness and health through activity.

Want to fund a new health care plan while reducing the need for such a plan? Start with physical education!

References:

1. Alec Saunders, the truth about Canadian Health Care, Saunderslog.com
http://saunderslog.com/2009/09/11/the-truth-about-canadian-health-care/

2. Experts Say Cost of Obama Health Care Plan Could Top $1.5 Trillion, California Healthline.com, March 18, 2009.

3. Pat Wechsler, Canadian Health Care, Even With Queues, Best U.S. (Update 1). Bloomberg.com, 9/18/09.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=a_zs1Y1FspIM

4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 2009.  http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html 

5. The Cost of Health Care in Canada, 2004, Canadian Institute for Health.

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Dick Moss, Editor, PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education,Obama's health care plan,obesity,health care costs[/tags]

Physical Education Waivers Make No Economic Sense

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Here’s an excellent example of politicians not understanding the benefits of physical education – cutting physical education as a way to reduce costs, but penalizing the taxpayer millions of dollars as a consequence.

The Ohio legislature, which currently requires only one-half of a PE unit for high school, has further softened this requirement by allowing school districts to waive the PE requirement for students who participate in two years of varsity sport, cheerleading…or band!

Well, unless it’s a marching band, there’s not much fitness involved in playing the flute. And more to the point, neither band, cheerleading nor varsity sports are as effective as PE in developing the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a healthy lifestyle throughout the lives of their students.

That’s because it’s possible for students to participate in varsity sports, yet gain an incomplete skill-set for maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout their adult years. A good physical education class develops the skills needed for lifetime fitness: the eye-hand coordination and familiarity with racquet sports needed for a  XC runner to play badminton or squash; the nutritional knowledge needed for a football lineman to maintain his body weight after this playing days are done; the confidence needed for a former wrestler to attend an aerobics class or a soccer player to join a golf-club.

It’s possible for a former swimmer to end up working in a town that has no pool, but has tennis courts available. An ex-basketball player may not have time to play hoops but could fit in a jog…if she knew how to approach it without causing injury. Both would benefit from the knowledge about health, flexibility, fitness and nutrition that PE classes provide.

The irony is, the cost of inactivity in Ohio is estimated to be $3.3 billion per year!!! Statistics show that almost 2/3 of Ohio adults are overweight or obese and only 47% of Ohio adults get a sufficient amount of physical activity.

And the Ohio legislature thinks that eliminating PE jobs will save money? In fact, good economics indicate that they should be INCREASING the numbers of qualified physical educators and mandating daily physical education. That’s a measure that would save the taxpayers millions of dollars!

References:

1. Elin Walsh, “Falls Schools weigh means of saving, making more money.” Cuyahoga (Ohio) Falls News-Press, March 22,  2009,

http://www.fallsnewspress.com/news/article/4550402

 

2. Ohio’s Physical Activity Plan,  2009

http://www.foryourhealthohio.org/

 


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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To subscribe to the free PE Tips of the Week Newsletter, Click Here!
To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!

[tags]physical education,physical education waivers,PE,PE waivers,physical education and economics[/tags]

Track Broadcasting Needs Better Announcers

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I’m a track fan, so I really enjoyed watching the World Track and Field Championships over the past two weeks. Fortunately, I was able to watch three different versions of the meet: NBC, CBC and the live feed the live feed on the internet as provided by the CBC and Universal Sports websites.

And once again, it has become very clear why viewership for the sport is so poor in the U.S.  The television commentary provided by NBC was so horrible it detracted from the enjoyment of the event. Little technical information was provided – not enough to educate new fans or please aficionados. Lead play-by-play man, Tom Hammond sounded like a parody of an FM-radio announcer, and colour man, Ato Bolden, while certainly a knowledgeable sprinter and a huge step up from Carol Lewis, babbled incessantly at a volume so high it sounded like he was announcing professional wrestling. Dwight Stones and Lewis Johnson seemed to compete with each in making ridiculous comments, and trackside interviews were often inane and showed a lack of knowledge of the sport…for example, asking athletes, were still breathing hard after their events, what they thought about Jesse Owens.

The CBC team of Mark Lee and Michael Smith is much better and I enjoy listening to them. Smith has improved every year and with his decathlete’s background knows what he’s talking about.

However,  the Cadillac of track commentating was provided by the Brits who announced the live feed on the internet. They demonstrated a combination of expertise, authority, eloquence, passion and frequently amusing turns of phrase. They were able to convey excitement by raising their voices only when warranted. Here are some examples of commentary by the Brits:

“Away it goes, high and handsome. Splendid form for Thorkildsen!”
“He really did hit it through the point of the javelin.”

“When he’s good, he’s very, very good. When he’s bad, he’s very, very bad. Tactically inept at times, but sometimes he can be devastating.”

“Victory, yes, but for how long. Rodgrigues definitely tried to push her way through a space that just wasn’t there. The tragedy of this is, even if the Spaniard is disqualified, Burka will never get a medal.”

“Oh dear, it’s another no-jump. Three no-jumps in the final of a world championship. No wonder she’s distraught.”

“Beekele ran 2:24 over the last 1000m of the 5k – equivalent to running a 3:36 1500m over the last part of the race. That’s why Lagat didn’t have enough to hold him off at the end.”

Here’s a video example of exciting track commentary:
British Announcer – Usain Bolt’s 100m
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAPqQMCI9H4

Compare to the NBC coverage of the same race:

NBC Coverage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qslbf8L9nl0

If Americans ever want to develop support for athletics in their country, they should hire a British coverage team.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To subscribe to the free PE Tips of the Week Newsletter, Click Here!
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[tags]track and field,IAAF Championships,World Track and Field Championships,track announcing,track announcers[/tags]