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No Gear? No Problem! Fitness Activities for Students With Limited Space and Equipment

Zachary Wahl-Alexander, Jenn M. Jacobs, Barrett Kaeb, and Kenneth Riley Jr.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010) recommends that youth participate in at least 1h of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day to achieve various short- and long-term health benefits. These daily bouts of activity have been shown to significantly affect children’s social (Tremblay et al., 2016), academic (Donnelly et al., 2016) and physiological outcomes (Yang et al., 2007). Despite these positive effects being universally recognized, only two-thirds of American-born children and adolescents meet prescribed recommendations put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine (Troiano et al., 2008). It is likely that youth do not adhere to these guidelines and are not accumulating sufficient activity during school hours (Institute of Medicine, 2013). Even more alarming, children from low-income households (Stevens et al., 2017) and minorities (Wilson, 2008) are at a higher risk of overweight and obesity due to significantly less daily activity

One explanation for the health gap is a lack of opportunities to engage in physical activity during the school day. Many children rely on in-school activity and physical education as their main source of fitness, yet numerous schools across the country have removed recess and limited the frequency of physical education. Throughout a school year, children regular get displaced during physical education class time (i.e., assemblies, school pictures), affecting overall effectiveness.

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