For the majority of my life, I have been an extremely active person. I started soccer at the age of four and cross country at the age of 11. That’s why the state of the RMSEL fitness program has been and continues to be important to me.
Until recently, fitness was not a focus in RMSEL high school culture. Although fitness pods were fun—ultimate frisbee, football, and soccer—students often chose not to participate and the atmosphere quickly turned apathetic.
Last summer, the senior class and crew leaders worked together to develop a new fitness program designed to abolish that mindset. In this model, students can push themselves, break through boundaries, and try new things. The approach isn’t random. It is based on hours of research about the positive effect of fitness on the learning process and test scores.
I expected it to be difficult to get younger students excited about preliminary research, learning, and personal growth. Amazingly, no convincing was needed. A positive atmosphere combined with a willingness for crew leaders and seniors to lead by example resulted in a popular program that embodies many of RMSELS character values. These values include:
- Courage in the face of adversity
- Tenacity in the pursuit of excellence
- The practice of empathy towards self and others
Why Fitness Matters
For me and many others, fitness is an extension of the classroom. Students must come equipped to fitness each morning with the same growth mindset they use in the classroom. Why? Fitness and academics are intertwined. Students can use it for whatever they wish, and they get out of it what they put into it. For example, the fitness program can help students:
- Improve their performance of a specific physical activity, such as running, strength training, flexibility, and speed
- Achieve a mental goal, such as overcoming a fear or obstacle or improving an approach
- Gain confidence with physical activity and use that success as a springboard to improve as a thinker, learner, and student
- Grow character values, including discipline, responsibility, courage, compassion, and integrity
Support Your Students and RMSEL Crew
I encourage you to ask your students how the fitness program helps them. I believe that many will acknowledge that it makes them feel good and helps them focus their minds before starting a day of learning. I know that I can feel the difference in my mental state almost immediately after physical activity. I maintain the highest grades in the classes directly after our fitness block, and I feel more engaged and motivated.
On behalf of the entire RMSEL crew, I invite you to come out and participate with us. Join us in some physical activity. You may find that it helps you keep your mind sharp and inspires you to achieve in new ways for personal growth.