Illinois 4-H help students exercise brains, bodies

By on August 30, 2010

Illinois—Illinois 4-H will introduce an innovative classroom-based exercise program when the new school year begins.

Wisercise! will be implemented in schools across the state to get students moving while remaining on task with academics.

“Today’s child obesity rates are reaching all-time highs,” said Melinda States, a 4-H Extension educator in Youth Development. Wisercise! lessons promote nutrition and health messages and provide needed energy breaks using the different learning styles of students. They get the students moving and make learning fun. They also align with core subject matter areas of math, language arts and nutrition and health.”

The energy breaks are designed to fit into the time constraints teachers are under to accomplish the important lessons that students must master in the core subject matter areas. Dynamic activities may be used over and over again to keep students exercising at moderate to vigorous levels for seven to eight minutes while learning academic objectives.

“University of Illinois Extension staff will assist in helping to identify volunteers who will be screened and trained to lead these activities in their local classrooms,” States said.

The volunteers will teach the Wisercise! cadences and activities to a class of fifth-grade students. The fifth-grade students will then schedule times with the third- and fourth-grade classrooms in their school. Teams of three to four fifth-graders will take turns leading the activities with the younger students for 10 minutes per day in each third- or fourth-grade classroom for four to five weeks.”

“Student leaders will learn planning and public speaking skills and be role models for the younger students,” said States. “And from these activities, all the students will learn habits to take charge of their health, become more focused and productive in the classroom, and have fun while doing it,” she concluded.

If you would like more information about the Wisercise! program and how to start the program in your local school, please contact University of Illinois Extension in Kane County at (630) 584-6166.