Fitness Friday aims to improve student well-being
Students in third-grade teacher Jen Carroll’s class at Marion-Walker Elementary School are involved in more physical activity than just in health and physical education class. After all, the longtime teacher leads her class with fun morning exercises to help get the day started and get students pumped for school.
On Fridays, also known as Fitness Friday, the activity is led outside – weather permitting – with a jog around the playground in addition to other morning stretches and exercises such as jumping jacks, skipping, sprinting and jumping.
“(It’s) important for the students because it gets the students excited and warmed up mentally and physically for the day,” she said. “Students have something to look forward to especially on a Friday. Students are excited to go outside and perform their morning exercises. It is just a great way to jumpstart the day.”
The fitness activities are something she has been doing with her classes since she started teaching in 2007, with Fitness Friday events being held outdoors about five years ago.
“There are so many benefits of student wellness,” she said. “Students need to move and be active. Our morning exercises, including Fitness Friday workouts, create a habit of exercising every day. Students who have the opportunity to be active regularly in the classroom are more motivated to be at school. Students need to have the opportunity to perform exercises that help improve physical and mental health. This can create a lifelong habit of exercise.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance and classroom behaviors. But more importantly, Carroll added, it helps create a positive and upbeat classroom environment, and brings a smile to her students’ faces.