Fitness Is Fleeting (Or, It's A Cruel, Cruel Summer)


When Dr. Thom McKenzie and I were finished presenting “It was 20 Years Ago Today” (full video below) at AAHPERD this year, we fielded a number of good questions from audience members.  One was regarding research questions that remain unanswered.  In response, I mentioned that when we did the original SPARK study, we were able to increase student fitness levels significantly during the school year – far beyond their start of school baseline.

However, when these same students returned to school after their summer vacations their fitness levels were much lower – nearly at the baseline levels from the previous fall.  In a sense, both students and teachers were starting over again in the new school year.  This despite our efforts to give students PAL’s (physical activity logs) and a number of solid behavior change lessons designed to motivate and monitor their own fitness levels while away from school over the summer.

So, how can teachers effectively apply behavior change principles during PE class during the school year so the results students achieve will at least maintain over summer vacation?

At SPARK, we’re continuing to work on developing better tools and teaching strategies to address this issue.  Below, find hyperlinks to several sample documents we’ve created and integrated into our elementary, middle, and high school physical education programs.  Our hope is they’ll “SPARK some thought,” and that you’ll try them, supplement them, and help address the fitness decline usually seen during summer vacations:

These are just a few examples of the great content in each of these programs.  Learn more about SPARK K-2 PE, SPARK 3-6 PE, SPARK Middle School PE and SPARK High School PE.

-Paul Rosengard, SPARK Executive Director