What is Healthy Moves?

What We Do

Kids-scooterHealthy Moves is a nonprofit organization bringing movement, fitness and fun to elementary students. Due to school budget cuts, many physical education programs have been eliminated. Healthy Moves trainers work with students and their teacher to demonstrate fitness activities and provide a model for the teacher to use in future PE classes. Healthy Moves provides fitness formats that can be used by all teachers of grades one through five.

Physical activity supports healthy social, cognitive, and physical development in children. National experts recommend that elementary-age children get 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day. Yet, research shows that children are failing to reach even minimal benchmarks for age-appropriate physical activity. Among kids that are age 6-11, 13 percent are now obese, and this unhealthy number has been increasing.

Healthy Moves for Kids provides fun ways for kids to get the physical activity that they need to be healthy.

Here are the three programs that Healthy Moves offers:

1. Trainer-in-Residence

This seven-week program brings movement, fitness and fun to elementary students.

In schools where physical education is lacking, Healthy Moves fills the gap by working with teachers and their students to demonstrate fitness activities and provide a model that the teacher can use for PE classes. Healthy Moves provides fitness formats that can be used by any teachers of grades one through five. The approach reduces the teacher’s planning time for physical education and gives students the fitness activities that they enjoy.

2. Jump Start with Healthy Moves

This is a 30-minute activity program that is done before school on three mornings per week for the entire elementary school year. A variety of physical activities includes a warm-up, cardiovascular activities, games, and a cool down/yoga stretch. Activities are adapted to be appropriate for each grade. This program to stimulate physical activity for kids in grades one-to-five has the added benefit of preparing them to be able to focus better in the classroom.

3. Youth Physical Activity Planning

Healthy Moves will provide professional planning and guidance to schools and community organizations to help develop and operate physical activity programs for children in kindergarten through 8th grade.

For more information about these three programs, see the Programs page.

How We Started

Denise TrainingHealthy Moves was set in motion by Denise Thomas-Morrow, a fitness specialist wanting to get involved with the national Let’s Move campaign (www.letsmove.gov) on childhood obesity that is led by First Lady Michelle Obama. “I felt that the crucial attention that was starting to be given to children about not being physically active was so critical,” says an enthusiastic Denise, “and that people were blaming the kids, and at the same time not giving any aid to support the children in getting more active!”

“In response to the continued concern from the public about childhood obesity rates, I thought, let’s get into the schools. With the help of Dr. Larry Smith, we found that in the Bethel/Springfield school districts there were no physical education teachers at the elementary school level. And PE teachers were becoming extinct not just in the Eugene/Springfield area, but across the country!”

Denise, the director of Healthy Moves, continues: “With the help of Bethel Superintendent Colt Gill, former Eugene 4J Superintendent George Russell, and Springfield Curriculum Director Paul Weill, Healthy Moves started on a path to help local kids get more healthy. We began gathering fitness instructors, coaches, retired teachers, University of Oregon students and athletes, students from Lane Community College’s Fitness Specialist program, and people who have had experience with youth in physical activities into the Healthy Moves program.”

So now, Healthy Moves can assist teachers in teaching a variety of physical activities to youth. And the kids benefit in ways that can make them more healthy now and throughout their lives.

For more about why we care so much about kids being active, see the Healthy Facts page. It contains great information from scientific studies on the multiple ways that kids benefit from physical activity.