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 🙂
Dick Moss, Editor,
[tags]physical education,fitness,walking,youth fitness,