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]

Women’s Teams, Bus Travel and Chick Flicks

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Laurentian University, where I coach the women’s track and cross-country teams, is four hours north of Toronto, and most of our competition venues are at least that far away. (I also coach a track club, but that’s for other blog posts).

So we  do a lot of driving. In the past, we travelled in vans, but this year our fortunes changed dramatically. We now use a 30 passenger coach,  It’s heaven! The difference in stress levels after a bus-trip versus a van trip is astronomical. In fact, I’m typing this blog while sipping tea in the front seat of the bus. We’re flying down the highway and I can see the fall colors flashing past, and rivers and lakes and other spectacular views. The bus has a bathroom, luggage compartment,  reclining seats and a professional driver.

It has one other feature that sounds wonderful, but is a double-edged sword – a DVD player with five screens and speaker system. Movies! What a great way to wile away the hours!

Or so I thought. On our first trip in the bus, I made a fatal mistake. Continue reading Women’s Teams, Bus Travel and Chick Flicks

If You’ve Never Failed, You’ve Never Lived – A Video

Here’s an inspirational video you can show your students or athletes. It can be particularly powerful after your team has lost a game or championship. You can also use it with individual students who appear to have a fear of failure.

The video highlights a number of famous people who initially failed in their endeavors, then rose to become high successful.

The end-phrase: “If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.”

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,failure,success,success and failure>[/tags]

Can Physical Education Unite a War-Torn Country?

Athletes-Shaking-Hands_webWhen it comes to physical education, it seems that Uganda is more advanced in its thinking than many North American school boards. Rather than firing PE teachers and cutting PE from school curricula, Uganda’s ministry for education has announced that they’ll be recruiting 3600 new physical education teachers over the next two years.

In justifying this expenditure, the minister stated the well-known (but often ignored or misunderstood) rationale of improved health among students.

However, he also  expressed a benefit that is overlooked in North America but is of great urgency in a country with a long history of civil war…unity!

In education minister Kamanda Bataringaya’s speech, he appealed for local leaders to support sport in their districts as a way to unite their communities. In his words: “Very many countries fight each other but when it comes to sports, they are one.”

Fitness, health, national unity.

In Bataringaya’s words,  “So, education should go hand in hand with sports.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Reference: Paul Watala and Joseph Wanzusi, “Government Eyes 3600 to Train Physical Education,” AllAfrica.com,  April 8, 2010.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!

[tags]physical education,PE,physical education advantages,physical education and unity,sport and unity,sport advantages[/tags]

Running While You Study – Not As Crazy As it Sounds

A TrekDesk Work Station
A TrekDesk Work Station

I once coached a student-athlete who had the most peculiar study habits.

Like many students, she often found herself falling asleep shortly after opening her books. Her solution to this problem was unique. She began studying during exercise sessions. She would prop a book on her elliptical trainer or treadmill and read while pounding out the miles.

Soon, hitting the books became synonymous with hitting the gym. It became common to see her with a handful of notes while doing laps on her neighborhood indoor track. She once ran 100 laps while doing a review for exams.

When she began this routine, she could hardly be called an athlete. In fact,  this study-exercise combination helped her to drop 30 pounds and elevate herself from a recreational jogger into a second-team All-Canadian runner over the course of several years.

Having seen her attempt to study on a number of road trips (10 minutes-and-asleep), I always thought that her study strategy was pretty smart. In fact, it made sense, since she was using her brain while it was in a highly oxygenated and receptive state.

However, I must admit that I considered her study habits…unusual.

But no more. A company is now selling treadmills specifically for studying and working. Trumpeting the advantages of combining physical with mental exercise, TrekDesk now makes complete workstations that fit over any treadmill and allow you to walk while you work.

Apparently and unknowingly, my student was on the cutting-edge of exercise innovation.

I have absolutely no connection to TrekDesk, but you can take a look at their website at the following link:  TrekDesk

And my student-athlete who could only study while on the run? She’ll be finishing law school this Spring and will be articling with a firm she has worked with for the past two summers. They love her.

I just hope they have a treadmill in their law library.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]fitness,exercise,studying while exercising[/tags]

The “Sleep It Off” Misconception

Bottles_blog2As we turn the page on another year, I can’t help but think about a tragedy that marked the end of 2009.

Two young men, who had been best friends since childhood, attended a Christmas party where they consumed, as young people often do, a significant amount of alcohol. Instead of driving home inebriated, they did the right thing and stayed over at the host’s house so they could “sleep it off.”

After a few hours of sleep and assuming they were OK to drive, they headed for home the next morning. It was 10:00 AM when they left. Unfortunately, during the drive, they hit a patch of ice and spun into a telephone pole. One of the boys flew out of the windshield and was killed.

The other fellow, whom the police assumed was driving, was tested and found to be still legally intoxicated. In addition to losing his childhood friend, this young man is now going through the court system and may face jail time.

It’s a tragedy for both families and for both boys – they are/were excellent people – the kind of young men you’d want your daughter to marry.

I guess there are two morals to the story. One, always wear your seat belt. Two, sleep isn’t a magic remedy for inebriation. Whether asleep or awake, it takes at LEAST an hour per ounce to metabolize the alcohol in your system, depending on your size and sex. In fact, that process might take even longer when you’re sleeping because your metabolism slows down.

That going to sleep will automatically make you sober when you awaken is a popular misconception and one that PE teachers, as the primary providers of health information in our schools, must contradict. This misconception is so prevalent that morning drive-time is now considered a high-risk time for drunk driving and many police forces set up spot-checks from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM.

A pre-determined plan for getting home, involving a cab, parent or designated driver, is always the safer option.

I hope the upcoming year is a safe and happy one for you.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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

[tags]physical education,health[/tags]