Teachers need significantly more training and support in ways to make lessons more active, said Joseph Donnelly, professor of internal medicine and director of physical activity and weight-management science at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
“Maybe you’re 55 years old, OK, and now all of a sudden you’re asked to do 10 minutes, twice a day of physical activity,” he said. “You’ve never led physical activity in your life. You have professional clothing on, you have inappropriate footwear—you’re going to push back.”
Erwin advised schools to give teachers flexibility on the clothes they wear and the option to take students outside for some classes to make it easier to lead more active lessons.
“I think COVID brought that out in many ways—how important physical activity is and fresh air and getting outside is for kids. Teachers are pretty supportive and continue to want students to get more activity,” she said. “But it’s important for teachers to feel comfortable doing it.”