Childhood obesity remains a serious problem in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since the 1970s, the percentage of children and adolescents impacted by obesity has more than tripled. Nearly one in five children and young people are considered obese.
Physical education is an important asset for students, and its benefits extend beyond battling obesity. Physical activity builds strong bones and muscles, improves fitness, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduces the risk of developing conditions like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. The CDC added that students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance, and classroom behaviors.
Building positive physical activity habits in your students can improve their physical and mental health. One way to do this is through incorporating songs that will keep them moving. Music for physical education classes can help encourage your students and create a fun atmosphere for activities.
Motivating Students with Music for Physical Education Classes
How does using music for physical education classes help your students?
Hearing a favorite song naturally makes people move. That’s why wedding receptions tend to play songs like “Y.M.C.A” from the Village People and “Shout” from the Isley Brothers. They’re popular, catchy songs that make people want to dance.
Using music for physical education classes can have that same effect, but it doesn’t have to be about dancing. You can use music in the background. Just having music on while stretching can get students ready to start moving. Likewise, playing music during sports activities can inspire students to move more while they play.
Music inspires action. According to the BBC, stores use music to encourage customers to spend more money while shopping. Take advantage of the opportunity to inspire movement by integrating music into parts of the physical education curriculum. The following sections offer some ideas.
Warm-up and Cool-down Songs
The Stretching Song, (Warm-Up for Younger Students)
Faded, Alan Walker (Cool-Down for Older Students)
Gym Class Music for Early Elementary Grades
Swimming Song, Tony Chestnut & Fun Time Action Songs
The Hamster Dance, The Hit Crew
Bouncing Up and Down, Patty Shukla
Baby Shark, Pinkfong
Physical Education Music for Middle and High School Students
Shake It Off, Taylor Swift
Happy, Pharrell Williams
Fun, Fun, Fun, The Beach Boys
Gypsy, Fleetwood Mac
Free Music Tools for PE Teachers
There are several ways to stream music for free. Here are just a few of the most popular options:
Spotify offers a free plan that has occasional advertisements. You can access playlists and discover new music, but you’ll need to listen in shuffle mode and you’re limited to skipping six songs each hour.
Pandora generates customized radio stations based off your favorite artists or songs. It’s free with occasional advertisements.
iHeartRadio works like Pandora, offering music recommendations based on your tastes. It’s also an internet radio station and completely free.
SoundCloud is a free social music platform. It doesn’t have the music library as other sites, but it has attracted some big names to go with independent artists.
Commercials can be a distraction when using music for specific exercises. You could try having students choose their own exercise during commercials. Although commercials are common with many free music streaming plans, they don’t have to stop you from using music for physical education classes.
PE class should be where students build healthy habits that impact their futures. Music is a great start, but there are several other strategies for helping students benefit their well-being.
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