Physical Activity Best Practices
More than one in 10 Colorado children is obese. Lack of physical activity is a leading cause of obesity; a poor diet is another. Obese children are at a higher risk for asthma and diabetes as well as depression and low self-esteem. Lack of energy, poor self-image and health complications make it a lot harder to concentrate in school and can lead to behavior issues. Physical activity can stimulate the mind and enhance brain function.
How does your district measure up?
- We meet the HB11-1069 requirements by offering 150 minutes of physical activity weekly or 30 minutes of physical activity a day for all elementary students.
Minimum minute requirement for full day students
Minimum minute requirement for half day students
Schools that meet5 days per week 600 minutes per month(an average of 30 minutes per day) 300 minutes per month(an average of 15 minutes per day) Schools that meet fewer than 5 days
30 minutes per day 15 minutes per day
- We offer 150 minutes of physical education weekly or 30 minutes a day at the elementary school level, and 225 minutes weekly or 45 minutes a day at the middle school and high school levels. Our physical education curriculum is sequential and consistent withstate standards.
- We avoid substitutions for physical education such as marching band or ROTC.
- Our physical education teachers are licensed and have received professional development in their field during the past two years.
- We offer our elementary students recess before lunch.
- We avoid taking recess away as punishment.
- We offer structured recess.
- We partner with organizations that offer after-school programs promoting physical activity.
Districts & Schools
Some districts and schools in Colorado are leading the way to help students become more active. They’re using creative approaches to get kids moving.
- Rural spotlight: East Grand School District, Granby, Colorado
Getting students moving
- Use the Colorado Comprehensive Health Education and Physical Education Standards to create a comprehensive school physical activity program that integrates physical activity throughout every school day — from creative classroom approaches for getting students moving during reading and math to an annual district-wide bike- or walk-to-school day event.
- Encourage physical education teachers to work with other teachers to integrate the core curriculum into their classes. For example, physical education teachers can ask students to use math skills by measuring their heart rates and graphing the data.
- Provide resources for core teachers to integrate physical activity into their everyday classroom; such as brain breaks, morning warm-ups, and scheduled school-wide physical activity breaks.
- Explore creative ways to offer physical activities that better reflect what’s new, current and of interest to students. Involve your community.
- Provide opportunities for a structured recess program to ensure all students are being active on the playground.
- Engage the community to gain deeper insights into its values about the relationship between physical activity and student learning.
- Develop a board policy to provide more opportunities for students to engage in physical activities that further enhance student learning and wellness.
- Build awareness among constituents about the relevance of physical activity to student achievement.
- Serve as role models to children by living active, healthy lives. Engage in physical activities with your child at least three times a week.
- Advocate at school board meetings for increasing physical activity in school curriculum. Underscore the link to student achievement.
- Seek out community organizations that can provide after-school activities such as weight-lifting, aerobics, Taekwondo, yoga and sports.
- Become a leader or a supporter of increased physical activity in your school district.
- Participate in conversations led by administrators and school board members about how to increase access to physical activity for students, staff and the community. Help identify community issues, priorities and values.
- Develop partnerships with your district to provide additional resources, programs and events focused on physical activities. Promote after-school activities such as sports or exercise classes.
There’s a wealth of resources available to get you started. Among the most relevant to physical activity:
Alliance for a Healthier Generation — Healthy Schools
Find resources that enable schools to increase student opportunities to exercise and eat healthier foods. This website also provides resources for teachers and staff to become healthy role models.
Colorado Action for Healthy Kids Team — Parents are the Power! Tool Kit (English and Spanish)
Check out this tool kit that parents can use to create healthier environments for their children in Colorado schools.
Colorado Department of Education — Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Standards
See state content standards that provide intentional opportunities to integrate and differentiate physical education concepts and skills.
National Association of State Boards of Education — Preventing Childhood Obesity
Find out about the most recent developments in obesity and policies to promote physical activity in this easy-to-read publication.
Learn more about the Let’s Move! campaign started by First Lady Michelle Obama. Its goal is to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight.
Visit this website for information on how to create and evaluate programs that promote physical activity and lifelong wellness for students and staff.
“For us, it comes down to students’ health and well-being. We know the disturbing statistics about childhood obesity, and we want to give our kids the tools they need to make good decisions about their health.”
~ Nancy Karas, superintendent, East Grand School District
The Colorado Legacy Foundation believes that increased student achievement for all Colorado students requires effective leaders in every school, effective educators in every classroom, and healthy and engaged students who come to school ready to learn.