By American Heart Association News
The American Heart Association (AHA) and National Football League (NFL) have partnered with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, to expand the AHA-NFL PLAY 60 Challenge to offer all-new, standards-aligned digital resources for students, educators and families across the country. The new resources include interactive classroom activities, engaging curriculum and lesson plans, and family resources. Available at no cost, the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge is designed to inspire students grades 3-8 to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day and help more schools become places that encourage physically active lifestyles year-round.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Acknowledging that physical activity produces overall physical, psychological and social benefits, and inactive children are likely to become inactive adults, the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge leverages the American Heart Association’s health expertise and the NFL’s commitment to physical fitness to motivate children to become physically active and instill healthy fitness habits. Powered by Discovery Education, the new PLAY 60 Challenge resources include:
Curriculum and classroom activities: Aligned to National Physical Education Learning Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards, NFL PLAY 60’s curriculum, lesson plans and classroom activities cover topics such as the impact of physical activity on cardiovascular health, and movements and strategies that best contribute to strong physical health.
Downloadable family resources: Designed to extend learning beyond the classroom, NFL PLAY 60’s at-home family resources encourage the development of personal and family goals for weekly physical activity.
Interactive video segments: Featuring Ryan Kerrigan, outside linebacker for the Washington Redskins, NFL PLAY 60 offers short, interactive videos for classroom or home use that excite and educate students about various exercises. During these videos, Kerrigan coaches participating students through various movements while explaining the benefits of each physical activity.
“Engaging students in physical activity not only provides fitness benefits, but also aids in improving academic achievement,” said Andy Losik, teacher at Hamilton Community Schools, Michigan. “I am looking forward to implementing NFL PLAY 60 resources in my classroom to inspire my students to become physically active and understand the importance of daily exercise.”
According to a recent study published in the online journal PLOS ONE, kids who are physically fit have differences in their brain structures that might allow them to achieve higher in math. The study found that children who could run for longer periods of time had increased functioning in their frontal cortex. This part of the brain is important for academic performance because it is involved in working memory, which especially helps in solving math problems, as well as cognitive flexibility, or the ability to tune out distractions.
“The American Heart Association is delighted to partner with the National Football League and Discovery Education to expand the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association. “By working together we’ll be able to provide new digital resources to help increase the engagement of children and their families in physical activity. By developing healthy habits at the earliest age possible, kids greatly reduce their risk of facing heart disease and other chronic illnesses later in life.”
“We are pleased to work with Discovery Education to expand the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge through online activity guides and physical fitness videos,” said Clare Graff, NFL Director of Social Responsibility. “These online classroom resources will benefit students, educators and families across the country and help continue the American Heart Association and NFL’s long-standing commitment to youth health and wellness.”
“Discovery Education is proud to collaborate with the American Heart Association and National Football League to extend the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge through dynamic classroom resources,” said Lori McFarling, Senior Vice President of Discovery Education. “This important initiative provides classrooms and families nationwide with unique learning opportunities that excite and engage students in important health topics and inspire lifelong healthy habits.”
For more information on the program or to access the NFL PLAY 60’s free resources, visit: heart.org/NFLPLAY60Challenge.