The One Thing You Must Confront About Your Culture

The One Thing You Must Confront About Your Culture

The One Thing You Must Confront About Your Culture

Teacher fitness is an important goal, but finding time to exercise when you’re in the classroom all day can be tough. Squeezing it in before school means getting up even earlier than you do already, while trying to work out after school may add a couple of hours to your already packed day.

There are ways for teachers to stay fit by infusing exercise into their school days. Maybe a few of these ideas will work for you!

1. Go Walk!

Walking is one of the easiest, most effective, and most accessible forms of exercise for teachers. Some teachers walk the halls before the kids arrive or after they leave. Slip on a pair of good sneakers with whatever you’re wearing and take a few laps around the building. Take the stairs if possible!


Many teachers wear a Fitbit or other activity tracker so they know how many steps they’ve taken or how many laps around the building equal a mile. I know teachers who walk outside during lunchtime when the weather cooperates. Some say that walking clears their heads and energizes them for classes after lunch.

2. Invite Colleagues to Exercise With You

Chances are that you’re not the only teacher in your school who wishes they had more time to exercise. Invite colleagues to join a workout club that regularly meets after school. Veteran health and nutrition teacher Nora Howley says the camaraderie and commitment of others provide positive reinforcement for everyone. There’s “safety in numbers,” she says, for teachers who may not feel comfortable exercising in an open school setting.

Further reading: 5 REALISTIC Ways for Teachers to Get Healthier This Year 

At my school, one of our teachers offered yoga instruction once a week in her classroom after school. Both male and female teachers enrolled in the class. Another school where I worked allowed teachers to use the fitness room after school if sports teams weren’t using it. A friend of mine also told me that at her school, a group of teachers got together to bring in a fitness instructor once a week for a small fee. Working out with others can be a lot more fun than exercising alone!

3. Make the Most of Time at Your Desk

Exercising at your desk can be another effective way to stay fit, says Jessica Smith in Shape magazine. Smith describes several “sneaky seated moves” that result in a “total-body cardio and strength workout.” Exercises range from seated jumping jacks to “running” at your desk. “Burning muscles,” she says, prove that you’re getting a workout.

Several elementary teachers I know regularly get kids up and moving for a few minutes after they’ve spent an hour working at their desks. Teachers join kids in stretching or jumping jacks, and after 10 minutes, everyone—including the teacher—is ready to get back to work. Visit

As a secondary teacher, I found that leaving my desk and getting out in the hall between classes got me moving and helped me clear my head for the next class. In a more dramatic move, a few teachers I know have added a stand-up desk to their classroom to reduce the time they spend sitting. One fitness expert even suggests replacing your desk chair with a large yoga ball. Of course, there may be downsides to this idea if you’re not really agile!