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Beyond Gym Class – Building a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program

Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

Strong test scores and student academic achievement are important for schools to focus on – no doubt! But far too often, this is done at the expense of ensuring young people also get plenty of opportunity to move around during the school day.

Exercise and physical activity not only build healthy bodies but sharp brains and the ability to concentrate on studies. Phys-Ed classes can only go so far in helping young people get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. What’s needed is a more comprehensive approach that can build opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day.

Children on playground running

SHAPE America and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have joined forces to provide just that sort of program. They’ve designed the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) with resources to help schools and school districts provide an abundance of opportunities for physical activity before, during and after school. The program includes several helpful resources, including a free, downloadable CSPAP Guide for Schools with step-by-step strategies to develop, implement and evaluate a CSPAP.

The CSPAP resources are a great way for schools and school districts to begin building a physical activity framework that can further inform their school wellness policies. A comprehensive approach looks for every opportunity to infuse physical activity into the school day and employs the use of resources and community support that might otherwise go overlooked.

To get a solid overview of the program, you can read and download this CSPAP summary document.

To explore the full CSPAP document, click the image above or visit CSPAP: A Guide for Schools document on the CDC website.

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