The childhood obesity epidemic is usually blamed, in part, on the fact that most kids aren’t active enough at home and at school. Opportunities for activity in school are less common now because programs like physical education and recess are being cut in an effort to save money or to dedicate time for test preparation. This has an effect not only on health but on academic performance, since regular activity improves attention, memory, and learning (in addition to the health benefits).
Parents are partly to blame, too. There are plenty of missed opportunities for physical activity outside of school. Since most adults don’t get enough activity, it is no surprise that they aren’t encouraging their kids to be active.
Adults get the same benefits from regular physical activity as children do. Just as kids who are active during the day perform better at school, adults who are active at work are more productive. But most people spend much of their work day sitting with little to no activity. This is bad for health and for job performance.
So why don’t adults get recess, too? They should!
This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week. It is also the mission behind an initiative called Instant Recess, which provides tools to help people include short activity breaks into their day. Far from being a burden or a waste of time, these short bouts of activity improve health, mental wellbeing, and productivity.