February is always a time for celebration in New Orleans. Typically Mardi Gras is in full force, or we may be fortunate enough to celebrate a Saints Super Bowl win. But, this February also marks a more substantial and impactful national celebration – the five-year anniversary of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.
As athletes, community leaders and health enthusiasts, the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition is on the Let’s Move! team and quarterbacking the Let’s Move! Active Schools sub-initiative. Let’s Move! Active Schools launched two years ago and is aimed at bringing physical activity back to America’s schools.
So far, more than 14,000 schools and champions have signed up for Let’s Move! Active Schools – a tremendous testament to the need for our kids to be moving more throughout the school day.
But there is more work to do. More parents, educators, community leaders need to join the effort. More superintendents, school administrators and teachers need to assign greater importance to physical activity and physical education.
So, while we are racking our brains as to why America’s students are struggling to keep up with their global counterparts in reading, math and science and how to boost standardized test scores, the answer may be right in front of us.
Kids are sitting too much throughout the school day, which also means their brains are sluggish and slow. It is no secret that physical activity stimulates the brain. Scholarly research clearly tells us that physically active children and adolescents perform better on tests, exhibit a higher level of focus and concentration and show elevated interpersonal skills.
The good news is that Let’s Move! Active Schools was put in place by the First Lady to help schools take advantage of physical activity’s immense health and educational benefits. It equips school leaders and teachers with the resources and tools to incorporate at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day while ensuring movement is a fundamental part of a child’s educational experience.
In the NFL, we are blessed to have hundreds of thousands of fans tuning in to our games each week, fervently applauding the touchdowns, and proudly sporting the colors of their home team. What will it take to galvanize this type of excitement and fandom for active learning environments for our children? It is the health and wellness of our children’s generation at stake.
Let’s rally around our local schools, voice our support of Active Schools and create a healthier future for our children. Visit www.letsmoveschools.org to sign up and get moving.