Reducing sedentary behavior and increasing physical activity is key to immediate and long-term health for children. That is why the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, the National Football League (NFL) and Baltimore Ravens have awarded a $1,500 Get Moving Grant to Middlesex Elementary School in Baltimore County.
Students at Middlesex Elementary moved along with the Ravens exercise video which is a part of the NFL PLAY 60 exercise library. The library features team created, family-friendly exercises to help kids get their recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.
The video features about two dozen Middlesex Elementary students who participated in the NFL Play 60 program earlier in the school year, exercising to “Seven Nation Army,” by White Stripes, a popular song played at Ravens’ games to fire up the crowd. Middlesex Elementary School physical education teacher Jon Blockston created the routine and helped with the video recording.
“Exercise keeps you focused. No matter what we’re doing, we’re always pushing to keep our kids active because everyone has been at home and on our devices for so long,” said David Frank, Community School Facilitator at Middlesex Elementary. “Anything we can do to keep the kids active and get them excited about moving around, we push for it.”
Frank said Middlesex Elementary hasn’t decided what they’ll use the grant money for just yet, but are looking into additional resources for students to use outdoors.
“Kids need fresh air more than they need anything, so we’re going to try to get something we can use for all grade levels to keep them moving, keep them outside and keep them excited about exercise,” he said.
The Get Moving Grant application process invited schools to re-create their version of their hometown team’s exercise video demonstrating school and Ravens’ pride paired with an excitement for physical activity. Schools posted their videos to social media from November 2021- January 2022 to officially enter the grant process. Videos were reviewed by a panel and one school per NFL market for a total of 32 schools nationwide, received a grant for physical activity equipment.
“The Ravens are strong supporters of the NFL’s PLAY 60 program and we are incredibly proud of Middlesex Elementary’s dedication to being healthy,” said Baker Koppleman, the Senior Vice President, Ticket Sales and Operations, for the Baltimore Ravens and a member of the American Heart Association of Baltimore & Greater Maryland’s Board of Directors.
Of the 32 schools one school will be named the national winner receiving an additional $1,500 for physical activity equipment which will be announced in the Super Bowl Brain Break broadcast taking place on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. Celebrating the program’s 15th year, the Brain Break will host an action packed, 15-minute synchronous broadcast to help students add movement to their day. Advanced registration is required to access the NFL PLAY 60 Brain Break broadcast.
Rooted in science, NFL PLAY 60, helps children to develop healthy habits for a better chance of a healthy adulthood. The program encourages kids to get a minimum of 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity each day to meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
The NFL and the American Heart Association have teamed up since 2006 to inspire kids through a fun and engaging way to get physically active. The impact of physical activity on overall mental and physical wellness are essential to help children grow to reach their full potential. Information on the grant process and additional NFL PLAY 60 resources can be found online at heart.org/NFLPLAY60.
Wayne, a lifelong Marylander, is the communications director for the American Heart Association serving Baltimore and Greater Maryland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.