"Sitting is the New Smoking"

"Sitting is the new smoking" is my favorite takeaway phrase from the Arizona Department of Education's Wellness Conference I attended last week. Not only is movement important for our overall physical health, it is equally important for our mental health.

Activity breaks, brain breaks, brain builders... whatever you want to call them, allow students (and their teachers) a few moments to regather, recharge, and recollect. Research suggests quick breaks like this, breaks which could literally take as little as thirty seconds, to ideally occur for every 20 minutes of sit down time.

Time and again, research has shown that the more we restrict our students to their desks, the more we limit their physical activity and recess time... the less beneficial the learning atmosphere becomes. And, at this point, we know that inactive kids become inactive adults. We also know how hard behavior change is as we get older (remember Dairy Queen). It is simply much easier to build healthy lifestyle behaviors than it is to change bad behaviors already established during the first however many years we've lived.

And so, I've attached a "companion sheet" for the fit sticks I've designed for my school district - all you need is a bundle of 31 popsicle sticks to go along with it. Simply write the name of one exercise on each stick (you can even color code them to match the type of activity associated on the companion sheet for easy referencing). Then, use them just as you would class participation sticks. Randomly pick out one or two, and follow the directions.



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