Body and Brain Workout for Our Next Generation
By my one and only, Chris Powell
Our children are our future. Unfortunately, many of them are growing up without any knowledge or education on how to manage their health through nutrition and exercise. Because of this, many of them will likely suffer from poor health at an early age, greatly affecting their quality of life. This is heartbreaking. They don’t deserve that kind of future! We MUST empower them.
Here’s the catch:
Nutrition can be an extremely complicated topic to teach. Most adults still struggle to fully understand how our macronutrients affect our bodies. It needs to be fun and simple – and most schools just don’t have the time in their schedules to teach this sort of curriculum. And now, physical education has been removed from many of the schools in our nation – to provide more room for hard sciences and “test taking skills.” While we understand the positive intention behind this, what many don’t realize is that PE isn’t about climbing a rope, running on a track, or kicking a ball. PE is about priming our bodies for maximum physical and mental performance.
By removing activity from our schools, we are actually taking away the physiological foundation for building knowledge…beginning with brain function. Research has proven time and again the neurological benefits of physical activity before learning:
- Increased attention span
- Increased memory
- Increased learning
In addition, we are robbing many of our children the opportunity to PLAY – to run, jump, push, pull, and climb…for not just physical gains in fitness, but for mental and intellectual growth as well!
There can be fun and effective new ways to teach our kids how to be healthy for life. If you are a parent or educator, and want to start weaving brain-and-body work into your kids’ daily regimen, try out this awesome exercise-driven nutrition game that I started teaching at the Boys and Girls Club over 10 years ago. It was a hit for years…and is just one of many!
GAME: MY FAVORITE FOOD
This game is best when played on a court (basketball court, tennis court, etc.) or in a court-sized space (small field, etc.).
In each of the four corners of the court are 3 colored papers representing one main food category: Protein, Carbs, Veggies, or Fats. (NOTE: veggies are also technically “carbs,” but it is important that we teach them the categories of carbs to understand the impact on their health and performance.)
In the middle of the court, are four large lists (laminated) of different food categories:
(NOTE: We typically start with these types of “base foods” as they occur in nature – minimally processed, just to give them an idea for what they are – feel free to add extra, or remove foods as you wish!)
BEGINNING THE GAME:
- The kids start huddled in circle in the center court. If someone crosses the line, they are “out.” One is chosen to be the “FitMaster.”
- To start the game, the “FitMaster” calls out a favorite food from the list by saying “My Favorite Food is….,” then they call out a food from another list.
- Immediately the kids in the center must reference the lists to find which category it is in.
- Once the food is identified on this list, they then run (or bear crawl) to that corner.
- The first three kids to grab a correctly colored piece of paper turn the paper over to reveal a workout challenge like this:
a. Do 5 leap frogs
b. Do 10 jumping jacks
c. Do 7 burpees
- Each of the three kids with the papers then instruct the class to do each of their challenges.
- On one paper in each category it says “FitMaster.” That person then gets to pick their favorite food….
- And the game starts over again.
Once you get into the flow of it, the game is a blast:
a. It incentivizes the kids to learn the lists, giving them advantage to run the class through their exercises, and possibly become the next “FitMaster.”
b. It teaches cooperation as the 3 masters communicate to run the class
Chris Powell 🙂
You can find the kids’ shoes here: