Victor Schools have decided to overhaul their approach to physical education by replacing gym class with a series of options ranging from dance to self-defense and plenty in between, an outside-the-box idea which educators believe will help students have a healthier relationship with physical activity.
When asked about these changes, Victor’s director of athletics, Ron Whitcomb, told Daily Journal, “We want our kids as they walk out of these halls in grade 12 to be active for life.”
Considering that under 5% of adults take part in 30 minutes of exercise daily, and only one out of three adults participate in the weekly recommended amount of physical activity, it might be time for a new approach. Offering interest-specific activities that students actively choose to participate in could lead to future choices to be active outside of school.
The merits of building a habitual engagement with exercise can be observed from a weight loss study published in the Obesity journal. This study finds that subjects with higher weight variability early in their weight loss program will have less long-term success. Pointing to inconsistency during weight loss regimens as an indicator of long-term weight loss could reflect how forming consistent habits, even if the results aren’t immediately apparent, is essential to health over time.
The same thinking is at play in the Victor school district. Getting students involved in an activity they enjoy could contribute to a consistently active lifestyle. The question on everyone’s mind: will it work?
So far, innovative gym classes are in their infancy, but there’s a buzz surrounding them. Older elementary school students in Washington D.C. are learning parkour, while out in Washington state older students are leaving the gym to go rock climbing in the mountains. The growing momentum of non-traditional gym classes across the country could very possibly be linked to a reversal of the continued fitness decline of the United States.
If these programs succeed in the goals they’ve set out to accomplish, we might see a resurgence in the current niche fitness culture. Victor school district certainly hopes this is the case.