I’m completing a online wellness challenge through my school’s health insurance.  Overall, I’m logging in my time exercising each day and weight each week, but each week there is also some other challenge.  One week it was to eat up to 9 servings of fruits and veggies, the next it was to keep a food journal and this week it is to stretch for at least 15 minutes each day.

Now, you may already know that I am a big fan of teachers taking care of themselves so that they can do the best job they can.  Usually my message is to feed your own creative side – get inspired, so you can be inspiring!  But I also believe this to be true with health.

While there are many things you can do on your own: join a gym, do an exercise video, go for a run, join a support/weight loss group; there’s one venue that’s right in front of you every day – your classroom!

One of my favorite things to do with my class is to move our bodies.  We do things like jumping jacks, slow motion “high knees”, shoulder rolls and stretching.   You may be able to imagine their surprise near the beginning of the year, when I first ask them to, “Stand up and put your chairs in.”  Our little, crowded room becomes a make-shift gym.  We do things that are as quiet as possible, (we work in a modified open concept school), and don’t take up a lot of space.  The kids usually love it!

This past week, during my own challenge to stretch for 15 minutes, I made the same challenge to my students.  In class, we are able to get 5-10 minutes done, usually in increments of 3-5 minutes throughout the day, and then the students write in their planner what time is remaining for them to do at home.

So far, about 90% of the class claims to be keeping up with the challenge.  I think it’s great!  My hope is to continue with these challenges that show the importance of exercise and health and start to build a feeling of independent responsibility to stay healthy and take care of our bodies.

In essence, our class has become a mini workout group.  It’s good for the kids and it’s good for me too!

Do you use movement and exercise in your classroom?  Would you want to?  Please share!

~EMP

image from www.valdosta.edu/~kfrucker/

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