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Exercise

Bring the Gym to the Classroom


Little bodies and emerging minds get fidgety pretty fast. Elementary classroom teachers know this all too well. Unfortunately, gym classes are often the first to go when local school budgets are tight. One option to replace the traditional recess time, is to contact local gyms for assistance. Many gyms will send a trainer to the classroom as a way to market and promote the gym and its facilities. Check out your local gyms to see if any have such programs. If not, they might well be open to developing a program for your school. There’s no match for the value of marketing from a child coming home from school raving about a particular gym and offering a brochure from the gym to their parents.

Gymnasia apparatus such as bar-bells, parallel bars, jumping board, running path, tennis-balls, cricket field, fencing area, and so forth are used as exercises. In safe weather, outdoor locations are the most conductive to health. Gyms were popular in ancient Greece. Their curricula included Gymnastica militaria or self-defense, gymnastica medical, or physical therapy to help the sick and injured, and gymnastica athletic for physical fitness and sports, from boxing to dance.

Well versed personal trainers will be able to structure a workout program that is not only age appropriate, but also inspiring for young children. They may take the students outside, to the gym or remain in the classroom. With a few stretch band, bounce balls and jump ropes, most trainers are able to engage the children and get them motivated about stretching and staying in shape.  The goal of most trainers in the industry is to have their clients develop a lifestyle that includes working out, reducing stress, making healthy eating choices and finding a sport or activity that inspires them.

Some schools are sending PE teachers into the classroom instead of using funds to update gym equipment.  Children can use their own bodies for resistance, work with one another and simply form human chains to gain strength and agility.  Old fashioned jumping jacks and push up have never been known to hurt anyone. Clearing chairs and desks out of the way is important so no one risks injury by having inadequate space. It was found that gym pupils lose interest in doing the same exercises, partly because of age. Variety in exercises included skating, dancing, and swimming. Some gym activities can be done by 6 to 8 year olds while age 16 has been considered mature enough for boxing and horseback riding.

Many teachers conduct summer camps. Most of these camps have some type of fitness component. Check with your local gym or PE teacher to identify fitness resources that can be used in a camp setting. Whether at camp or in the classroom, developing a lifelong love of fitness and training is a positive addition to any school curriculum.