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Chapter 4. Physical Fitness and Wellness for Children. Chapter 4 Key Points. Physical Activity and Physical Fitness are key elements in increasing years and quality of life - Healthy People 2010 (USDHHS, 2000) Defining Physical Fitness

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Chapter 4

Physical Fitness and Wellness for Children

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Chapter 4 Key Points

  • Physical Activity and Physical Fitness are key elements in increasing years and quality of life - Healthy People 2010 (USDHHS, 2000)

  • Defining Physical Fitness

    • The capacity of the heart, blood vessels, lungs, and muscles to function at optimum efficiency

    • The body's ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities to be healthy, to resist hypokinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations (Corbin, et al, 2001)

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Chapter 4 Key Points

  • Physical Fitness can be positively affected by quality physical education programs that provide children with competence, enjoyment and confidence

  • Goal is for all children to attain positive level of health-related fitness

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Health‑Related Fitness Components

Muscular Strength and Endurance

  • The amount of force a muscle can produce.

    Muscular Endurance

  • The muscle’s ability to produce that force for a period of time.


  • The capacity of a joint to move through its potential range of motion

    Cardiovascular Efficiency

  • The body’s ability to undergo vigorous exercise for an extended period of time

    Body Composition

  • The amount of fat cells compared to lean body mass

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Chapter 4 Key Points

  • Surgeon General’s report (1996) shifted the emphasis physical fitness from strenuous, continuous exercise a few periods a week, to moderate physical activity on all or most days of the week for an accumulated time of at least 30 min (preferably 60 minutes)

  • New guidelines for children’s physical activity:

    • 30-60 minutes of age and developmentally appropriate physical activity on all or most days of the week

    • Additional 60 minutes per day of active free play or other physical activity

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The FIT Principle

  • Frequency - physical activity most, preferably all, days of the week

  • Intensity - moderate to vigorous

  • Time - 60 minutes of cumulative physical activity a day

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Chapter 4 Key Points

  • Fitness Training Principal (FIT) for children:

    • Fun

    • Intrinsic

    • Motivation

  • And Two C’s – competence and confidence

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    Chapter 4Key Points

    • Research indicates that physical activity patterns in childhood and adolescence influences adult pattern

    • Two recent models outline goals appropriate for children regarding physical activity

      • Children’s Lifetime Physical Activity Model (Corbin & Pangrazi)

      • Physical Activity Pyramid (Physical Activity for Children Guidelines, NASPE, 1998)

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    Chapter 4 Key Points

    • NASPE Standard 3 and Standard 4 identify physical fitness goals

    • Regarding physical fitness, the NASPE document advocates a focus at

      • the early elementary level on positive participation in physical activities

      • the upper elementary and beyond, on an awareness of importance of fitness concepts and development of skills and knowledge for regular participation

    • Research indicates that the traditional approach to gains in fitness scores may have long term consequences such as lack of interest, motivation and skills needed for successful participation in later years

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    Chapter 4 Key Points

    • Role of Physical Education teachers:

      • Help children and their parents choose activities they enjoy to attain and maintain fitness and set realistic individual fitness goals

      • Help children develop positive attitudes needed for active participation

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    Chapter 4 Key Points

    • Fitness test scores

      • Purposes

        • Ongoing screening

        • To develop yearly plans

        • To assist youngsters establish personal fitness goals/remedial programs

      • Become meaningful to students if they are involved in the recording and analyzing of scores, and provided with guidance in setting personal goals

      • Recommended that scores should NOT be recorded for children younger than 4th grade

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    Appropriate/Inappropriate Practices for Physical Fitness Testing

    Appropriate Practice:

    • Teachers use fitness assessment as part of the ongoing process of helping children understand, enjoy, improve and/or maintain their physical fitness and well-being.

    • Test results are shared privately with children and their parents as a tool for developing personal goals and strategies for maintaining and increasing the respective fitness parameters.

    • As part of an ongoing program of physical education, children are physically prepared in each fitness component so they can safely complete the assessment.

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    Appropriate/Inappropriate Practices for Physical Fitness Testing (cont)

    Inappropriate Practice:

    • Teachers administer physical fitness tests once or twice a year for the purpose of identifying children to receive awards or to meet a requirement of the school district or state department.

    • Children complete physical fitness tests batteries without understanding why they are performing the tests or the relationship to their activity level and individual goals. Results are interpreted based on comparison with norms rather than in the terms of how they apply to children's future healthy and well-being

    • Individual scores are publicly posted, comparisons are made between students' scores, and/or grades are based on fitness scores.

    • Children are required to take fitness tests without adequate conditioning.

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    Promoting Health-Related Fitness in Elementary Children Testing (cont)

    Teachers can help children develop the skills and positive

    attitudes needed for active participation in physical

    activity and assist them in attaining a healthy level of fitness


    • Providing a quality program of physical education

    • Promoting additional in-school and out-of-school physically active and health-enhancing activities

    • Working cooperatively with classroom teachers and parents

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    Chapter 4 Key Points Testing (cont)

    • Physical fitness is only one part of the broader “wellness” picture which encompasses emotional, mental, spiritual, interpersonal/social, and emotional well-being

    • Suggested learning experiences in wellness for elementary children include nutrition, drug alcohol, tobacco abuse, personal safety, personal and social responsibility, and mental/emotional health

    • Physical education and wellness are ‘intricately woven together in the quest for optimal health and well-being for all children’

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    Wellness Concepts in Physical Education Testing (cont)

    • Nutrition

    • Personal safety

      • Bicycle

      • Auto

      • Water

      • Fire

  • Drug, alcohol and tobacco use and abuse

  • Personal and social responsibility

  • Mental and emotional health