Prolonged sitting is one of the leading causes of obesity and illnesses among UK children, yet it is the most overlooked. There is a reason it is commonly ignored. It is such a simple, unassuming behaviour and frankly, it is hard to imagine a class listening to a teacher while doing cardio routines.
But the long list of health problems associated with prolonged sitting could not be ignored. That is why if it is difficult to imagine students working out while in class, then a little creativity might be helpful. Here are creative ways to fight the sitting disease:
Install pedal machines on school desks.
Yes, that is possible — and some schools already adopted this strategy. It is the trendy thing for most pupils, with some even competing for each other in burning calories. For others, it had become sort of a habit to move the legs while reading or listening to the teacher.
The principle here is to make it easy for students to engage in physical activity. With this, you are helping them not just in curbing weight and waistline gains, but also in instilling in them the important truth that exercise can be integrated into day-to-day activities. That change in perspective about healthy lifestyle can make a great difference.
Introduce the bike buddy program.
The pedalling should not stop at the four walls of your classrooms. After all, before and after class, sitting still happens at the school bus or at the back of the car. Consider bringing back the bike-to-school hobby. This routine has been forgotten over the years.
Children simply have no motivation to do it, while parents feel that the streets are not safe. The solution for this is to have a systematic program — complete with information on safe routes, giving out maps to parents and assignment of bike buddies, grouping students with their close peers.
Get everyone involved, from parents and local police to neighbourhood watches. Install cycle shelters to ensure the safety of the kids’ equipment.
Include outdoor learning in your curriculum.
Do not limit outdoor learning to your physical education classes. Integrate it with science lessons and explore nature. Include it in literature lectures as you re-enact novels and short stories. Introduce math with a game of tag or take your class outside. This will not just curb obesity, but also help them better engage in class. There is a lot of research that says exposure to nature soothes and relaxes, creating a mind ready to soak up information.
Do not let your students suffer the consequences of having a sedentary lifestyle. Stop the sitting disease — and be a little creative while doing it.