One of the best things about making school communities more active is that the students often take those activities home with them and stay active after school, on the weekends, and as they continue throughout life. One recent study found that students were more likely to be active on their own if their school had created health and fitness programs for them to participate in during the day. This type of behavior can also help lead to lifelong health benefits, as students recognize the importance of activity at a young age.
One important aspect to consider for any school wellness program, particularly in P.E. classes, is how to best relate wellness ideas to keep them fresh and interesting to students. Many P.E. teachers use technology and the latest fitness trends to inspire kids of all experience and skill levels – which in turn can help them develop a lifelong love of exercise. This technology includes the use of iPads, pedometers, and heart rate monitors in gym class and throughout the day to track activity in a way that is both fun and educational. A local example of this is at Kaechele Elementary in Henrico, which has a collection of iPads with fitness activities and videos that students can check out and use during brain breaks and recess.
Wellness portals are also a common way to integrate technology into fitness programs and engage students in the classroom as well as outside of school. Locally, Collegiate School has developed their ‘Link It & Live It’ wellness program for students and faculty, and a big part of the program is the portal that uses the FitThumb program. The portal caters to every division and department at Collegiate, and the way it meshes with the overall ‘Link It & Live It’ program is a great example of combining wellness and technology to engage students and get them interested in fitness and activity throughout their life.