Fitness professionals are well aware of the many threats that obesity poses to the health of our children. Traditionally, we could count on schools to help curb this problem by providing daily physical activity through physical education (PE) classes. Times have changed, however, and we may need to start looking for other avenues for upping daily exercise for teens. According to the Adolescent Physical Education and Physical Activity in California report, only 42% of the 6 million students enrolled in California schools participate in daily physical activity. A staggering 38% are not taking PE classes at all. With a bit of creativity, fitness professionals can help, says Lance Breger, MS, co-recipient of the 2011 IDEA Program Director of the Year award. Here are his suggestions for raising physical activity levels in schools:

  • Student Wellness Champions/Leaders Program. Select a random group of students from all grades to go through training with fitness professionals and PE teachers. This will help combat peer pressure and promote exercise in different social groups.
  • Hypertrophy Program for Male Students. Offer a male-oriented strength training program to build boys’ confidence and create fitness leaders who can inspire others to be active.
  • Girls on the Run. Become a Girls on the Run coach to teach and inspire preteen girls to run, be healthy and develop self-confidence.
  • After-School Boot Camp. Lead boot camps that are grade- or gender-focused.