I love the beginning of a new school year. I revel in the planning, new school books, sharpened pencils, notebooks filled with lined paper, book shelves neatly organized, and a fresh new school calendar ready for the year ahead. The newness of it all reminds me of how I feel at the dawn of a brand new calendar year.
However, the one thing I never feel quite prepared for is physical education. P.E. We’re a homeschooling family and enjoy the outdoors more than anything. Our classroom setting often changes from day to day, taking us on wild and active adventures, providing opportunities for learning everywhere we go.
When they were younger, if it was raining . . . we stayed home and made obstacle courses inside, played basketball in the hallway, or danced to all kinds of fun music. (OK…we still dance our hearts out together, often.) But now that my kids are getting older, they need more intentional exercise and instruction in this area.
They need P.E. And honestly, so do I. As a busy mom, my workouts often get pushed to the side. It’s not always easy finding time to exercise, is it? But, we need it, just as much as our children do. So this year, one of our focuses during the school year will be on what we’re calling P.E. for the Whole Family!
In planning our physical education for the year, we came up with 4 prerequisites…
1. We really wanted our P.E. to help us in our family mission to be good stewards of our health by taking better care of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
2. Each P.E. workout had to accommodate our entire family of six, with ages ranging from 4 years old to the parental ages.
3. Each workout had to be able to be done inside or outside without equipment, with the exception of hand weights.
4. The workouts needed to take 30 minutes or less, from start to finish.
In our research, we found something that is already meeting all of these needs and more.
Have you heard of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Burst Training?
In a nutshell, HIIT consists of short, intense bursts of exercise followed by either active recovery (meaning less intense exercise) or complete rest in between. Depending on the style of burst training that works best for you, each workout takes anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to complete . . . perfect for busy families striving to be healthy.
What we love about HIIT/Burst Training
- There is no limit to the kind of exercise you can do. For example, one of our workout routines consists of speed jacks (super fast jumping jacks), squat kicks while holding 5-pound hand weights, speed jump-roping (jump-roping in place without an actual jump rope), and running in place . . . really fast. Everyone can do these at their own pace and to their own ability.
- Each intense burst really gets your heart rate up. Just when you think you can’t go any more, you get to rest after 30 seconds to a minute, to let yourself recover and breathe. This makes each workout challenging, yet very doable.
- We love that we can do these workouts in our living room using one of the MANY free workouts available online or head to a nearby park for our P.E. time.
- There’s a really handy interval training timer app you can use on your smart phone that helps you keep track of your timing during these workouts.
- P.E. has never felt so satisfying, and in learning each new exercise, we’ve learned so much about the way our bodies work and how to strengthen them.
- Because burst training has an element of challenge during each workout, it keeps all of us interested and wanting to stay consistent.
If you’d like to learn more about High Intensity Interval Training, be sure to check out and follow my HIIT Pinterest board. As I find new info and great video workouts, this is where I’m adding them.
Being intentional about our P.E. is proving to be an amazing way for us to spend time together as a family, and honestly, we all feel so much better. Happy, healthy kids and parents equals a more joy-filled school year for everyone. Whether your kids are involved in traditional physical education at school or you are trying to create a P.E. curriculum yourself, God calls us to be good stewards of our bodies.
We’d love to hear what you’ve got planned for this upcoming school year! If you are feeling particularly challenged (like I was) in the P.E. department, let us know so we can encourage and spur one another on.
Back-to-school Encouragement For Moms
This post is a part of the Back-to-school Encouragement For Moms series. Be sure to check out the others posts to be encouraged!