The Iowa Games are joining physical education instructors across the state to promote fitness in schools on Wednesday. Schools taking part in "Go the Distance Day" must plan a 30 minute segment of consecutive aerobic activity that includes 100 percent of the school participating.
Iowa Games executive director Jim Hallihan says they want to show kids that being active is fun. Hallihan says a lot of kids now go home and aren’t active, as they sit in front of the computer or watch tv. He says they’re trying to show parents that kids aren’t active enough, and they want to support physical education.
Hallihan says they hope this program will help schools do more to promote fitness. He says he was up in Dubuque and they had cut out recess as they wanted kids to work harder on reading skills. Hallihan says though when you take away recess, kids don’t learn as well because they need to burn off some energy.
Hallihan says there are a variety of ways that schools take part in the program. He says they can walk around the track for an hour, they can walk around a park, they can set up skill stations or an obstacle course. Hallihan says they’ve heard the kids enjoy the activity, and they’ve found kid with healthy food that’re active learn better.
Hallihan expects the number of Iowa kids who take part to increase this year. He says it’s the first year with really good weather. Hallihan says they’ve had 30 to 35,000 participants and this year they think they can get up over 40,000.
Each school that achieves 100 percent participation will be entered into a drawing to win one of several monetary awards through the Iowa Sports Foundation. The monetary awards must be used toward physical education classes or new playground equipment.