Get your kids moving

The American College of Sports Medicine says kids who run around during the day don't just avoid obesity, and bad habits for a lifetime. They also learn better.

playground at Bessie Branham Park, Kirkwood, AtlantaMy YMCA shares its gym with my son's old middle school.

After I finished my workout this morning I noticed they have a new gym teacher.

The former teacher was focused on teaching kids the rules of sports like basketball and volleyball. He lectured the kids. They fidgeted, both in the hall and along the wall.

The new teacher is quite different. She was working her charges like a drill sergeant. One group doing push-ups, another sit-ups, and a third running back-and-forth across the small gym floor.

I like the new gym teacher.

She's part of a trend which has some scientific basis to it. The American College of Sports Medicine says kids who run around during the day don't just avoid obesity, and bad habits for a lifetime. They also learn better.

Killing gym classes and closing playgrounds is a false economy.

I know I'm an obsolete kid, but I do. The hours after my workout are always my most productive of the day. Why shouldn't it be that way with young people?

My son, who graduated from that middle school, has internalized the lesson. He takes walks every day, after dinner. Just a few miles. But it clears his head, it helps him with his homework, and he sleeps better.

It's important to find an exercise you like, that you can do for a lifetime. It doesn't have to be organized. We say people "play" at sports, and if you can keep that joy with you it's bound to be good for you.

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