Students spend passing periods walking around the school from class to class, and many use fitness watches to track steps. (Photo by Sashrika Shyam)
Students spend passing periods walking around the school from class to class, and many use fitness watches to track steps.

Photo by Sashrika Shyam

Students step it up

Teachers get less movement during school

October 1, 2021

8,514 steps a day. This is the average number of steps taken from 15 students on a school day. However, for teachers, this number looks different. Teachers get an average of 4,125 steps each school day.
Studies have shown that activity plays a large role in keeping people healthy and helping them develop. It is important for students and staff to get a good amount of movement each day, and school may have an impact on this, now with COVID limiting movement in classrooms.

Students are mainly exercising when walking from class to class each day, and physical education classes are keeping students active for an additional 40 minutes.

Jessica Acevedo, physical education teacher, says that PE classes are playing a very important role in keeping students energized throughout the day.

“Staying active is important because exercise can grow brain cells,” Acevado said. “We need to keep PE in the school systems because it gives our students a chance to get up and move from sitting all day, and it’s helping develop their brain.”

This has benefited Jannah Sulaiman, sophomore. Sulaiman said PE classes have helped her stay more active with the lack of summer activity.

“I’ve had less time to exercise at home, since the school year started. I’m glad I took a PE class so that I can stay active. My PE class is making sure that we’re doing activities that are fun while helping us start moving around and get active,” Sulaiman said.

Between PE classes and walking through the halls, students are active for about ninety minutes each school day. However, teachers’ data looks different.
Ian Silverman, English teacher, says movement goals are not as easy for him to obtain.

“[Students] certainly move more than I do because I’m in one room for most of the day, and even in a normal year, I don’t leave my classroom during class. I go to my office, but my office is pretty close. [Students] change classes six, seven, eight times a day, but I’m stuck in one room,” Silverman said.

While teachers who teach core subject classes may be in the same situation as Silverman, other teachers get more movement than even students. Acevedo says she is moving for more than half of the school day.

“My fitness for life classes have fitness five days a week, so I’m engaged in these classes by leading exercises like body conditioning, barre, yoga, demonstrating lifts and walking around to ensure everyone has proper form. I’m moving around constantly,” Acevedo said.

Teachers like Silverman recognize the lack of activity they get in school compared to PE teachers, and have taken it upon themselves to get the exercise they need.

“Several days a week, I get up before dawn and go run. I know that the steps I get during the day are constrained by my schedule. I’ve never prioritized steps during the day, I try to get my exercise outside of school,” Silverman said.

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