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August 14, 2013

Zumba, Insanity, and P90X—AT YOUR SCHOOL!

Though I’m loathe to admit it, I’m sometimes a stranger to exercise. The truth is—I just don’t prioritize it. I could most definitely find time to exercise if I really worked at it; I just choose to read cooking blogs on the couch instead.

Lately, I’ve been feeling guilty about this because of all these articles. But for many of us, with our long school days and our too much to do, it is just plain hard to find the time and motivation to exercise. In my data-gathering from thousands of educators, exercise ranks in the top three things people wish they had more time to do.

Enter the at-school workout!

CrescentCitySome of you may find the idea of sweating it out with your colleagues kind of icky, so you have to get over that. And if your family is waiting for you at home, you may not want to stay later at school. But for those of you who CAN conquer the “ick” factor of seeing your teammates in spandex singlets and stay a little later at work, maybe setting up a school-based exercise program is for you. You can go low budget, high budget, or somewhere in between. And all you need is someone to take the lead, a big room and a big TV or projection screen. Oh, yeah, and a LOT of enthusiasm.

Here are a few great examples we’ve seen in our recent travels:

  • The least labor intensive and cheapest option–Excel Academies in Boston. Led by two motivated teachers, a consistent group of 5-6 colleagues did Insanity immediately following detention and after school programming on Tuesdays. They held it in the community circle or recess spaces.
  • A similar plan, but more frequent – Harriet Tubman Charter in New Orleans. They tried to hold their group 4 – 5 times per week and stuck to it pretty well. There was a consistent group of five teachers, and they also welcomed irregular drop-ins.
  • The All Out Above and Beyond Plan– FirstLine Schools, also in New Orleans. I found the sign below on the refrigerator in the teacher’s lounge at one of their schools. FirstLine sponsored free after-school Yoga, Zumba and HipHop classes for teachers across their network—and even welcomed teachers’ families! Here is a little blurb that Chef April, the 2012-13 FirstLine Schools Wellness Manager, (Edible Schoolyard New Orleans is a signature program of FirstLine Schools) sent to all teachers:

“Spring is in the air and here at FirstLine, we have a spring in our step!  This month we are looking at ways to increase our physical activity.  We know this can be particularly difficult when balancing the work load, so starting April 2, we will offer free Zumba classes every Tuesday from 5:30-6:30 in the LHA gymnasium.  Classes are open to all FirstLine staff and families and will continue each week from April 2 through June 11.  No equipment necessary.  Just wear comfortable clothes you can move in.”

FIrstLine Flyer

So, whether you invest a lot or a little, there are lots of promising ways to squeeze in a workout. I’m really into this idea to help our busy and hard-working teachers!

Discussion question: Have any of your schools set up programs like this? Do they work?

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