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King's Christian Collegiate offers individualized phys-ed program

Written on January 21st, 2009

Program helps students maintain a healthy lifestyle

King’s Christian Collegiate high school in Oakville has developed a unique physical-education program for its Grade 9 and 10 students that implements an individualized approach to fitness.

Nic Armstrong, the school’s director of athletics, designed the program, which is called TOTAL HEALTH.

“It’s an individualized concept of physical education where each student has their own mat, their own log book, their own tracking record of their physical development,” says Armstrong.

The program directs student’s attention towards body awareness, muscle development, body composition transformation and works on building up the cardiovascular system.

Armstrong says the program aims to give students a similar feeling of personal development that they may experience in other school subjects.

Physical education is year round and mandatory for Grades 9 and 10 students at the school.

The program is set up so students have two power-packed weeks where each day focuses on a different activity or exercise corresponding with the TOTAL HEALTH acronym, which stands for:

  • T – Testing
  • O – Core exercises
  • T – Tens and abs
  • A – Active stretching day
  • L – Legs and back day
  • H – High Intensity Interval Training
  • E – Extensers and flexers
  • A – Active stretching
  • L – Plyometrics (form of jump training)
  • TH – Thanks day (quite often a game)

After the two weeks there is a rest week when core sports, such as basketball and volleyball, are played. This gives students a physical and mental break, notes Armstrong.

“It really actually allows them to enjoy those sports even more when they come around,” he says.

The class runs 40 minutes, allowing for a “half hour of power.”

Students watch the gym clock and a screen that accounts for each minute of activity.

“It’s very intense,” says Armstrong.

The program started in September 2008, and has just completed its inaugural semester.

At the beginning of the semester Armstrong says students were apprehensive about working hard, but they now have gained self-esteem and have seen physical improvements.

Through their log sheet tracking students can see the improvements they have made, for example from completing two push-ups to 10.

“By the end of this first term we’ve seen kids skyrocket at that level, really improving their physicality in several areas,” says Armstrong.

The program aims to give students the tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Every month there is an education day, when an expert comes into talk about nutrition and food education.

A spinoff benefit to the TOTAL HEALTH program is it is helping to propel the school’s athletic program. Students are noticing an improvement in their extra-curricular varsity team performance. Armstrong says students have told him they have more endurance, are jumping higher and running faster.

While in most schools phys ed is mandatory only for Grade 9 students, Armstrong says with the increase in obesity in society there may be more schools pushing for mandatory physical education for other grades.

Armstrong says they are still working out the details of the program and sharpening the days. He has also started to develop similar programs for the upper-year grades.

He says they will be looking to “shop” the program around, adding some other teachers he knows are excited about the program.

Anyone interested to learn more is invited to contact Nic Armstrong through e-mail or by calling 905 975-2779.