This morning, I came across a NY Times blog post in my twitter feed @maliykaishealth discussing the newest study related to childhood obesity. The blog post asked whether exercise programs help children stay fit? According to the post, a new study found that physical activity interventions in school almost never increase overall daily physical activity rather they participate in the intervention and then remain stubbornly sedentary during the rest of the day. This got me to wondering why? Are these programs to structured? Why are school physical activity programs just not hitting the mark?
I’m a 80’s baby. Born in 1980. Growing up I enjoyed playing. Yes I watched television and enjoyed cartoons but going outside to play was my favorite pastime. Can we say that the park was the best place to be in my younger years. The one year that I did attend public school [P.S. 249 I enjoyed recess. Why…because I got to play. Even gym was a favorite subject of mine because even though we were learning and being physically active it was just plain fun. Games such as jump rope, dodge ball, tag, steel the bacon, etc. all physically involved and all fun were common activities I engaged in. Yes these games were fun. They were also beneficial health wise because they encouraged you to be active. No one wanted to be the child who also got caught. The amount of obese children then was nothing like the amount found today.
Children like to play and rightfully so. They should not have to be concerned with the mundane facets of life. Any program that encourages physical activity should be fun. Learning can should be fun. Children and even some adults have a short attention span. If that attention isn’t grasped early the lesson will not be learned. There is no question that the lessons being imparted are necessary for these children’s wellbeing but do they understand that. Are the educators in charge of their physical activity putting it in terms where they can understand the long-term implications. Are the lessons fun. Is physical play being encouraged. Perhaps, the fun should be brought back. Less television and more physical. Television that showed fun and physical things. Someone get the jumprope and the neighborhood kids. I bet you they will enjoy it and so will you.
Today’s Prescription: Nurture your inner child. In a stress world such as the one we live in our inner child can be the best stress reliever.
Maliyka is health