How Students Can Increase Movement and Physical Activity in Class Time
Mission: Readiness members witness how students in San Diego are making an IMPACT
Several Mission: Readiness members got to see firsthand how San Diego schools are increasing physical activity throughout the day. On February 24, Major General Melvin Spiese, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) and Brigadier General David Brahms, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), along with Special Advisor to the Commanding General, California State Military Reserve, Brigadier General Nathaniel Reddicks, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), met with education leaders at Hickman Elementary, where students performed exercises from the IMPACT (Increasing Movement and Physical Activity in Class Time) program.
“Physical education and activity are vitally important for students’ short- and long-term health, both physically and mentally,” said San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten. “Programs like IMPACT get students excited about exercise, teach them how to be active throughout the day, and increase the likelihood they’ll be physically active teenagers and adults.”
Created by San Diego Unified Physical Education Coordinator Lynn Barnes-Wallace and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), IMPACT engages students in physical activity breaks during the school day. Each week as part of IMPACT, UCSD and high school student-athletes set up a series of exercise circuits for kindergarten and elementary students, which include jump ropes, hula-hoops, monkey bars, stretching and more. Each exercise is designed to be fun for students, while getting them moving for at least 20 minutes twice a week while raising their heart rates—a key intention of the program.
Programs like IMPACT get students excited about exercise, teach them how to be active throughout the day, and increase the likelihood they’ll be physically active adults.
San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten
Studies show that, in addition to helping students achieve a healthy lifestyle, increased physical activity has a positive impact on classroom behavior and academic performance. For many students, schools are the only place for them to get the physical activity they need.
Major General Spiese shared his concerns about rising rates of childhood obesity coupled with declining levels of physical activity. “Obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades. More than a third of American children and adolescents are now classified as being overweight or obese,” he said. “Obesity is the leading medical reason why young adults cannot join the military.”
A Mission: Readiness report, Increasing Physical Activity in California Schools highlights best practices schools, teachers and parents can take to incorporate more physical activity into students’ daily lives and help them achieve 60 minutes of activity per day, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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