Phys ed class more effective when there's more talking

or eight weeks, Hortz met with the students at the intervention school during one gym class period.

During these lessons the students learned how to develop their own personal exercise plan. For example, some students planned to exercise with family and friends, while other students chose to exercise alone.

"The program encouraged students to plan the way that they preferred to be active," Hortz said.

The intervention group participated in sport-related activities during their other daily gym classes.

All students were asked to keep a seven-day record of how often they exercised outside of normal school hours (between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.) They kept these written records at two different times one week before the program started and the week after the program ended. A 30-minute exercise session counted as a workout for a day.

At the beginning of the study, nearly half of the students (46.9 percent) participating in the intervention program said they spent no time exercising outside of school.

By the end of the study, that shrank to less than one in 10 students (9.1 percent.) Walking, bicycling and small group games, such as three-on-three basketball, were among the top activities students participated in during their leisure time.

"These findings suggest that the program encouraged sedentary students to become active," Petosa said. "Exercise doesn't have to be a strenuous, heart-pounding, sweat-inducing session that leads to exhaustion. In fact, research shows significant health benefits can be gained when a sedentary person becomes moderately active."

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that teenagers get 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each day. Walking briskly, which many students in this study said that they did, qualifies as moderate exercise.

By the end of the study, the students from the intervention group increased the number of day

Contact: Rick Petosa
Ohio State University

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