If you thought all you had on Sunday was a date with Game 1 of the Miami Heat-Boston Celtics playoff series, think again. National Physical Education and Sport Week launches that day, in honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, with more than 3 million students expected to participate.
The theme for this year’s National Physical Education and Sport Week is Let’s Move in School, which is the “comprehensive school physical activity program of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (NASPE is part of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.) NASPE’s Let’s Move in School plan calls for all students to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis, and revolves around five key components: staff involvement, physical activity during school, family and community involvement, physical activity before and after school, and the centerpiece of the whole plan, physical education. Let’s Move in School is a nod to first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.
“Research shows that quality physical education programs can contribute to students’ regular participation in physical activity and can increase moderate to vigorous physical activity. The challenge is to help students identify a sport or activity that he or she enjoys as much as watching television or playing computer games,” said NASPE President Lynn Couturier in a press release. “As part of our Let’s Move in School initiative, our goal is to urge every school in the country to coordinate a physical activity event during National Physical Education and Sport Week which will help motivate students to jump start or stimulate their personal physical activity routine.”
What will students be doing to celebrate Let’s Move in School week? The festivities kick off on Sunday, May 1, when the Parkway school district in Ballwin, Mo., hosts a health and wellness expo called Shape Up to Live Fit. An estimated 148,000 Philadelphia students will participate in the Beyoncé “Let’s Move! Flash Workout” on Monday, and approximately 32,000 Miami-Dade County public school students will do the Beyoncé workout on Tuesday. (Beyoncé released the video this past week as part of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.) Port Matilda Elementary School in Port Matilda, Pa., will host a community walk-a-thon on Thursday, and more 3,000 students will participate in the annual Kansas Kids Fitness Day on Friday, May 6.
“Although it has been established by research that a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity a day is essential for student health and academic performance, we are challenged with how to offer adequate physical education and physical activity in the face of other education demands,” said Brad Strand, AAHPERD president, in a press release. “Let’s Move in School provides a cohesive message along with tools and resources to implement a comprehensive school physical activity program.”
Seeing as youth obesity was recently linked to higher risk of heart disease and that a recent poll found parents wanting more exercise for their children in school, National Physical Education and Sport Week seems to be a healthy step in the right direction.
UPDATE, 5/4: Yesterday, Beyoncé surprised a group of New York middle schoolers doing her Let’s Move! Flash Workout by joining in during the middle of their routine. The event took place at PS 161 Pedro Albizu Campos in Harlem. Check the video out below:
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.