PaceTrek Program Gets Students Moving

Paul Staso Running Through Alaska

If you’re looking for a way to motivate your students to walk or run on a regular basis, check out the PaceTrek.com website.  Founder Paul Staso has developed a series of events in which he takes students on a virtual walking or running adventure. As he performs ultra-endurance runs across different countries, states and geographical areas,  students are invited to watch his progress on his website, and log enough combined miles so they match the distance he’s run.

Students log in miles in school gyms and playgrounds, to keep Paul company. They read his online journal and watch the videos that he films as he runs.  His daily journal provides information about the place he has just run through in addition to a tip about fitness and health. It’s a great way to teach students about other places, while developing a fitness habit.

You can see some of his videos at:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pacetrek

The next journey begins on April 14, 2011. It’s a 506-mile solo run across the Mojave Desert. School teams can sign up for free at  http://www.pacetrek.com/register

Paul and his wife, Vicki. began the P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation (P.A.C.E. stands for Promoting  Active Children Everywhere) in 2006, when he ran 3260 miles across America to keep a promise to 97elementary school students in his hometown of Missoula, Montana. Since then, he’s run across Alaska, Montana and Germany.

The foundation also provides information for the Safe Routes to School program. This program enourages community leaders, schools and parents to improve safety and encourage more children to safely walk and bicycle to school.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]P.A.C.E. Foundation, PACETrek, fitness ideas, running programs, walking programs[/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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[tags]physical education,PE,physical education advantages,physical education and unity,sport and unity,sport advantages[/tags]

“Hurricane” Hazel McCallion Illustrates the Benefits of Lifetime Fitness

Hazel_blogAs the end of 2009 approaches, I’ll leave you with an illustration of the true end-goal of  successful physical education programs – an example of the benefits of a lifetime of consistent exercise.

Hazel McCallion, at 88 years of age, has been the mayor of Mississauga for the past 31 years!  Nicknamed “Hurricane Hazel,” mayor McCallion has an approval rating of 92%, and has won 11 straight elections. She has outlasted eight Canadian prime ministers and has her own bobble-head doll.

Mississauga, a former suburb of Toronto, is the 6th largest city in Canada. Under McCallion’s direction, it is completely debt-free and has 700 million in reserves.

The mayor is incredibly busy, but includes exercise in her hectic schedule. A former player in a women’s professional hockey league, she leaves her skates and hockey stick in the trunk of her car so she has them wherever she goes. She sometimes sneaks into a hockey rink during the day with a stick and puck and skates around on her own. She bowls, uses an exercise bike and is incredibly fit and vital.

Check out the following video of a Rick Mercer interview (from CBC’s comedy show, the Mercer Report)  with Mayor McCallion and watch her engage in some of her favourite exercise activities, including hockey, bowling and exercise cycling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY79KbCptTo

Have a happy holiday, everyone! I’ll see you in 2010! (Our next blog posting will be on January 4th).

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education,fitness,Hazel McCallion,Mississauga[/tags]

We Must Teach Students That Walking is a Form of Transportation

Walking_blog1

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]

The Buddy Bench Improves Inclusiveness During Recess Periods

Recess can be an excellent opportunity for children to engage in fitness activities. However for some children, recess isn’t fun – it’s a cruel reminder that they aren’t part of the in-crowd. Excluded from group games and activities, they stand on the sidelines watching and wishing they were part of the fun.

That’s where the “buddy bench” comes in. First used in Germany, the buddy bench is a simple idea that will help to improve inclusiveness during your school’s recess periods.

The buddy bench is a designated bench that you place on your school grounds. If a student has no one to play with, they sit on the bench. If students see someone sitting on the buddy bench, they know they should ask them to play or join the activities they are engaged in.
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The concept has proven to be extremely effective in schools across North America. The benches have been donated to schools by local businesses, parents, or interested charitable groups. They have also been built by the schools themselves as a group project. The benches can be painted and designed to be visible and can include all sorts of inclusive sayings and mottos.

It’s a great idea. Here’s a video about the buddy bench.

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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,buddy bench,recess,inclusiveness>[/tags]

Can You Use CrossFit In Physical Education Classes?

A trend in physical education has been to make PE classes less difficult so that every student can enjoy them. So here’s a concept that bucks that trend. It uses a fitness program called CrossFit to make special classes more difficult and challenging. And in at least one high school, it has been extremely successful.

The video above shows an example of how Crossfit concepts can be used in a high school physical education setting, as a program for students who want to work harder than in their traditional PE classes.

For those of you not aware of CrossFit, it’s a strength and conditioning program that employs a mix of aerobic, gymnastics, body weight and Olympic lifting exercises. The exercises are described as “constantly varied function movements” that employ some equipment that you might already have in your storage room, including dumbbells, barbells, jump ropes, gymnastics rings, medicine balls, pull-up bars, kettlebells, plyometric boxes, rowers, resistance bands, and mats. The program is flexible, however, and can be adapted to your existing equipment.

The following types of exercise might be used in a WOD ( or Workout of the Day – this term is used in the video): powerlifting, plyometrics, calisthenics, weight lighting, body-weight exercises, high intensity intervals, running, swimming, indoor rowing and more.

The goal is to improved fitness in 10 different areas: cardiovascular endurance, strength, stamina, speed, flexibility, power, balance, coordination, agility, and accuracy.

While Crossfit is an exercise philosophy, it’s also a competitive fitness sport, with the CrossFit Games conducted every year since 2007. It’s also a commercial enterprise, with over 10,000 affiliated gyms now using it in their exercise offering.

By the way, the term “AMRAP” which was also used in the video, means “as many reps as possible.”

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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