Exercise During the School Day? Yes, You Can!
Finding time during the day to exercise is challenging for most teachers. Although you are constantly moving, exercise time is hard to find. To help you fit a little bit of exercise into your daily routine, we compiled a few tried-and-true ways, as well as, some unique approaches to exercising during the school day. As always, it is best to consult your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program.
Recess makes a great excuse for a brisk walk around the playground! With your whistle in hand and your sunglasses on, you can create a walking circuit around the play equipment, across the basketball court, and under the shade trees while keeping an eye on students. Chances are that when students see you walking, they will start to walk with you. Authentic, informal conversations with students and a walk in the fresh air during the school day? Priceless.
Get the blood flowing with some morning warm-up exercises for you and your entire elementary or preschool class. Start the day with stretching exercises like: gently torso twists, reaching for the ceiling with both hands, arm circles, or balancing on one leg. Students may giggle and laugh, but the exercise will get their blood flowing which will make it easier for them to concentrate and learn. Lethargy is not conducive to active learning. You will also feel refreshed and ready to take on the next lesson. Do not hesitate to do this again at slow times during the day; it is an instant pick-me-up.
Teachers do a lot of standing and it can quickly take its toll on leg muscles. The next time you are standing at the board or observing a small group, try doing some calf raises. Slowly raise up your heels so that you are standing on your toes and gently stretching your calf muscles. Lower your heels slowly to end the move. Repeat the stretch throughout the day when you are standing in line, waiting for the bus, or teaching math class. Every little bit of exercise helps.
Experts agree that the average person should aim for at least 10,000 steps per day. The easiest way to track your progress is to wear an inexpensive pedometer clipped to your waistband. After it has been calibrated correctly, it will measure your steps and give you a visual cue to encourage more walking. A great idea is to start a step club with other teachers in the building. Every day participants can log their steps walked while at school. At the end of the specified time, the winner receives a prize like a coupon for a pedicure. Have fun with it and get others involved to make yourself accountable to more than just the plastic pedometer on your hip.
Whatever you decide to do, have fun doing it. Moving even a little will make a big difference. Not only will you be helping yourself, but your actions will be a really good example for your students.
How do you fit exercise in during the school day? Share your workout tips with us!