Winning a national championship is not the only thing Eli Manning can put on his resume. The Superbowl-winning quarterback is also an ambassador for Building Our Kids’ Success (BOKS) – an organization that works with schools to get children moving more throughout the day for both physical and mental health.
The fact that today’s generation of youth has more interest in electronic devices than playing sports or running around outside is just one of the numerous factors contributing to childhood obesity. Poor diet and a lack of exercise are two more. Currently, 9 million children over the age of six are considered obese. And comparatively speaking, obesity in America has taken a turn for the as obesity rates have more than tripled in recent years.
Growing up, children cherish memories of recess and gym class in elementary school. Recess is that critical break that children need to get away from classroom studies and relish in the benefits of fresh air and physical activity. While national guidelines recommend 60 minutes of physical activity a day, schools have started to limit recess time and physical education classes in order to achieve more time in the classroom.
But Building Our Kids’ Success it taking a stand. The organization not only wants to help children achieve higher academic standards, but also fight obesity as well.
BOKS is a before-school program that encourages children to get in a dose of physical activity before their day of learning starts. The program allows 40 to 60 minutes of physical activity for children, and believes exercise in the morning is important because it wakes up the brain and body.
BOKS combines play time and physical activities, and also teaches kids about fitness, nutrition and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Activities in the program include running, muscle-building skills, team and individual games, and a cool down and wrap up at the end. By the time each session winds down, kids leave feeling energized and much more able to tackle the day ahead.
Manning just recently joined the organization, but already fully believes in its mission and purpose. “You get the kids before school, you get them running around — relays, races. The idea is obviously it helps with their physical activity and their overall health, but also they found out when you are active – when kids are active – their minds become active,” he says. “So the goal is also to get them to do better in the classroom as well.”
The NFL star says it perfectly. Beyond just physical wellness, BOKS wants kids to learn more efficiently and score higher on standardized tests. Studies have shown that physical activity helps brain stimulation, especially in kids. And at schools where BOKS is implemented, principals, teachers, and parents have seen big improvements in attendance, scholastic performance and behavior.
It’s no wonder that Manning is an ambassador for such a great organization. The program wants to help children succeed not only in the present, but in the future as well. And that’s something we can all get behind.