Happy New Year! We are looking forward to 2015, and more specifically, the end of this school year. We are excited about the end of this school year because it marks another successful year of Quality Physical Education (#QPE) being implemented using the Five for Life program and WELNET software across the country. The end of this school year means that students will move forward with their lives to become happy, healthy, active members of society. As educators, it is our responsibility to make sure they are prepared for the adult world. The best way we can do that is by making sure they have the answer to the big question…the ‘Why’ question.
When a student graduates the 12th grade and is expected to positively contribute to society their health is instrumental in making a positive contribution become a reality. As a result, it is our job as #QPE teachers to make sure they are prepared and armed with the knowledge they need to be healthy and active for a lifetime. How do we do that? We have to make sure they know the answer to the ‘Why’ question that they so often ask. “Why are we running the mile?” “Why are we doing push-ups again?” “Why do you care if I eat Hot Cheetos and not an apple before I come to class?” “Why?” If we supply them with the easy way out answer of “Because I said so.” then we’ve not prepared them for graduation. In fact we have done quite the opposite. We have prepared them to pay a nutritionist and personal trainer to do the job that they should have learned from their Physical Education teacher. We may have even prepared them to not even bother with paying the nutritionist and personal trainer. Maybe they go about their days sitting at a desk for 8 hours only to grab dinner in a bag just in time to sit on the couch and catch the latest trend that is occupying their computer or television set. It is our duty as #QPE teachers to make sure they understand the reason they are exercising and developing motor skills; and why a healthy balanced diet is something that should happen every day of their lives.
“Why are we running the mile?” We are running the mile to build cardiorespiratory endurance, which is the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the working muscles for a long period of time. Not only will it strengthen your heart when you work on cardiorespiratory endurance, but running the mile is a way we can measure if you have increased your endurance over the course of the school year. “Why are we doing push-ups again?” We are doing push-ups because they are what we are using to measure your muscular strength which is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to push or pull with maximal force. Muscular strength is something that we use every day. For example, without muscular strength you wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed today. Furthermore, learning progressions of push-ups is a great tool that you can utilize for a very long time in your life. Not only to build or maintain upper-body strength but also core strength. “Why do you care if I eat Hot Cheetos and not an apple before I come to class?” I care that you skipped that apple in the lunch line to eat Hot Cheetos before class because you are getting to the point in your life when you need to make decisions that are going to help, and not hurt your body. We have looked at food labels this past week as we were playing ‘Swipe It’. You know that even though the Hot Cheetos has a fair amount of the quick burning macro-nutrient, carbohydrates it also has a lot of the fat macro-nutrient which has 5 more calories/gram than carbohydrates. On top of that, the amount of sodium in the Hot Cheetos isn’t going to help your daily hydration while the apple is a good source of Vitamin C. Students need to know why they are exercising and eating healthy. Not to mention, how to do it properly and the right amount. Making sure that our students are active when we have them in class is paramount as well. That being said, we see them for a fraction of their day, and in many cases a fraction of their week. If we are making sure that they are active and moving for as much time as we can during our class, without intentionally teaching them the answer to the ‘Why’ question, are we to believe that they will continue to be active and move when they are not in our classes?
When students graduate they have to know the that content is king. Teaching students how to move and helping them understand the reason why a healthy balanced diet is going to make them more alert than any amount of energy drinks is our job and duty as #QPE teachers. Giving a man a fish is like telling a kid to run. It will help them for that day. Teaching a man to fish is like teaching a kid the importance of a healthy heart. It will help them for a lifetime.