Chinese Menu

Can’t say that I’ve come across this lately since I’ve eaten in a number of fine Asian restaurants.  But there was a time when ordering from the local Chinese Restaurant meant selecting one entree from Column A and a second serving from Column B.  It was a good way of encouraging patrons to expand their palate.

The same format works well for exercise.

With the American Heart Association posting findings from this year’s annual conference that children today are 15 percent less fit than their parents, an alarm must be sounded.  Its research showed that children can neither run as fast nor as far as their parents did when they were the same age.  In fact, it takes a full 90 seconds longer for children to run a mile as compared to speeds thirty years ago.

Health experts recommend 60 minutes of moderately rigorous exercise over the course of a day.  Unfortunately, only one-third of our children achieve this baseline.

Yikes.

While it may not be sustained cardiovascular activity, one place to start reversing this trend is through periodic movement activities within the classroom.  Try devising a menu of exercise options.  One column could be Heavy Work activities, a second Midline Crossing ones and a third called Movement. List an assortment of doable intense exercises that challenge children’s balance, strength, stamina and coordination.  Encourage teachers to punctuate the day with select activities… in other words, one from Column A, one from Column B and maybe two from Column C.  Sneak in a ‘side dish’ or ‘main course’ between subjects, before or after a test, following a boring assembly, before a language arts lesson…  You get the idea.

The activities should be ones that can be performed either chair side or along the perimeter of the room. The entire movement break may be completed within minutes.   However, the benefits of recharging a child’s battery on attention, concentration, behavior and more, through a thoughtful array of movement options, can be long-lasting.

Stay tuned for a few of my favorite recipes, and don’t forget to leave room for dessert!