Seth Martin
LTUSD elementary PE lead

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September 20, 2012
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We Can! returns to teach South Shore students healthy habits

The We Can! program launched Monday in South Shore schools, challenging all fourth- and fifth-grade students in the area to practice and adopt seven healthy habits.

The program is supported by The Barton Health, Lake Tahoe Unified School District, and a variety of community groups, and is in place at all LTUSD elementary schools. Fourth- and fifth-grade students have received a book to track each of the seven challenges. Teachers will help discuss the weekly challenges and encourage students to participate. All students will receive a pedometer at the start of the program to provide them with a tool to track activity. In addition, each school has a bike that will be raffled off at the end of the program to a student who participated in the weekly challenges. The We Can! program hopes to go community wide with activities and events occurring all over the South Shore in the future.

The seven challenges:

Week 1: Drinking at least two 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

Week 2: Exercise for 30-60 minutes each day.

Week 3: Two hours or less of television and/or computer games each day.

Week 4: Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Week 5: Avoid soda and sugary drinks.

Week 6: Stretch 5-10 minutes each day.

Week 7: Practice the healthy habits.

One of the most essential things in all of our lives is water. It keeps us cool and helps us perform at our best. Unfortunately many students do not properly hydrate, which can lead to both low physical performance and low mental performance. Water is an essential part of our lives and should be a part of your child's life. Water makes up more than half of our body weight. Our organs need water to properly function and keep us alive. Drink water means only water for the two glasses not sports drinks. This challenge continues through the entire program.

Some tips to help your child:

- Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day. A reusable water bottle is the best and helps our environment.

- If you want some extra flavor add some lime or lemon to the water.

- Drink water before and after activity.

- Start and end your day with water.

- If your child is active, they need more water and fluids.

Being active is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stay healthy and fight obesity. Let's Move! is an organization working hard to change our children's health and wellness that is spearheaded by Michelle Obama. Let's Move! recommends at least an hour per day of activity for children. Kids need activity; it helps their brains and can help build bone strength. Thirty minutes can be effective if the activity falls into the category of moderate to vigorous physical activity also known as MVPA. MVPA is an activity range that starts when you are beginning to sweat but can still hold a conversation, to the point where you sweat heavily and may be having trouble carrying on a conversation of more than a word or two at a time. Activity can build confidence which can help them in life in a variety of ways.

Some tips:

- Support your children's activity choices but do not force them into things.

- Engage in a variety of activity with your child to show you value it too.

- Kids need to learn the skills they will use in sports to be successful if they are struggling help them practice the skills they need.

- Ask them what they did in PE and, if possible, work with them on it.

- Be their biggest fan not their biggest critic when it comes to sports. We all can beat ourselves up sometimes over the results of an activity, do not add to it or you may push them away from being active.

Do not forget to keep drinking that water. A lot of students have Walk-A-Thons this week. Make sure to keep those kids hydrated. The easiest way to do this is buy them a water bottle.

For more information, visit www.letsmove.gov and www.calgovcouncil.org.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 20, 2012 05:08PM Published Sep 20, 2012 05:06PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.