EXERCISE: THE LESSON SCHOOLS NEED TO LEARN

Imagine a world where everyone appreciates fitness, where being ‘fit’ isn’t such a big mystery. A world where exercising intertwines seamlessly with daily routines, slotting neatly into the usual hustle bustle of life.

I believe it is possible, if we start young.

If everyone was taught a simple fitness routine in their early years, set up for a life where fitness isn’t something to fear, but something that can actually become the highlight of the day. It’s possible.


Joe @thebodycoach was being interviewed on Chris Evans’ BBC Ratio 2 Breakfast Show about his latest project to encourage younger people into fitness. I think his idea is golden: a 30 minute follow-along routine done live online, everyday at 10am, for schools to tune-in. Fitness taught at school, learnt for life.

Schools should know the science behind it. Exercising in the morning aids focus and concentration throughout an otherwise predominantly sedentary school day. It releases endorphins, helps bust stress and anxiety and generally puts you in a more productive mood.

I believe everyone should be taught a simple no-equipment fitness routine to have as a ‘life skill’. Fitness doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated, consisting of fancy equipment and strange manoeuvres. A basic, 30 minute routine can be sufficient. And it doesn’t even have to be that long; little is better than nothing, it’s all about getting the heart pumping and feeling a burst of endorphins daily.

The routine everyone seems to be buzzing about on the fitness scene at the moment is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which consists of consecutive periods of rest and exercise. It’s quick, effective, and seriously burns. A brief warm-up and cool-down before and after means the revolutionary ‘tune-in’ workout is complete in well under an hour. Surely an hour of each school day can be devoted towards teaching the wonders of serotonin, rather than another tedious hour of sitting down pushing a pen around?

Schools’ current answer to the ‘exercise crisis’, PE lessons are a big issue to address; they simply don’t work. My PE teacher, as an experiment, monitored activity levels over several ‘sports’ lessons to discover how active students really are in their allotted time to exercise whilst at school. The results make PE lessons almost comical. Over an hour-long PE lesson, on average, a meagre 10 minutes was spent doing moderate exercise – pretty pathetic. Forget many benefits to be gained from that.


Sporadic, low-intensity, and often a lot more hassle than enjoyment, exercise in school is in dire need of a rethink. Perhaps these daily tune-in workouts are part of the answer.


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