Back to School Fitness in New Jersey


Summer is a healthy time of the year usually filled with plenty of sun, nutritious food and lots of physical activity. With the impending start of another school year, it’s important for your complete wellness to continue practicing your beneficial summer habits.

According to the New Jersey Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

  • About 15 percent of children and adolescents ages 6-19 years are seriously overweight.
  • The percentage of children and adolescents who are defined as overweight has nearly tripled since the early 1970s.
  • Over 10 percent of younger preschool children between ages 2 and 5 are overweight.
  • Researchers found that lowered self-esteem was associated with being overweight in girls as young as 5.
  • 1 in 5 children in the U.S. are overweight.
  • Children with obesity, age 10 to 13, are reported to have a 70% likelihood of obesity persisting into adult years.

With children spending most of their day sedentary in the classroom at school, participating in after school clubs, and completing their homework at night, the time they have to run around with their friends is limited.

The NJ Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD) recommends that while at school, students should participate in a well-designed physical education program taught by a certified physical education teacher. . NJAHPERD also highlights the importance of being physical both before and after school by walking and biking to and from school, engaging in morning exercise, running clubs and intramurals. They feel that this allows for students to be adequately prepared for learning throughout the day. NJAHPERD also reminds us that it’s important to integrate physical activity within the classroom setting as part of planned lessons since this can increase students’ overall physical activity and improve time-on-task and attentiveness. Brain energizers, activity breaks, and lessons that get students up and moving are examples of activities that can enhance learning.

Approach your teachers during back to school night to ask them to take activity breaks as they will likely be willing to accommodate these simple but beneficial requests. Greg Akins, owner of the New Jersey founded and based G-Funk Entertainment, is a physical education teacher at an Ocean County Elementary school. Greg has always been an enthusiast for nutrition, health and overall wellness.

“When I was a kid, my parents always made sure I was moving. If I wasn’t playing outside in the street with the neighborhood kids, than I was playing soccer and baseball on local recreation teams.”

To further enhance the lives of children, Greg founded his company in an effort to prove to kids that fitness can be both rewarding and fun. He sets up customized, organized activities depending on the age range, abilities, and interests of the participants at different types of events, including: BBQs, family reunions, boy scout meetings, girl scout events, and even impromptu get-togethers. Greg works hard to keep the activities enticing and fresh whether at an event for his business or while at work.

When asked why he is so passionate about his life’s work, Greg states, “fitness keeps kids–and adults–physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. That’s important now because we live in a time when everyone is so busy–we can forget that fitness is necessary for our well-being.”

Make sure to incorporate physical activity into your back to school routine from the start!


About Author

Samantha Adams lives in Wall, NJ with her husband Greg and three children, Gavin, Jackson and Andrew. With a BA from Rutgers in Economics and a Masters from Monmouth University in Business, Samantha is an unintentional advocate for nutrition, health and overall wellness. She wants her children to lead the best life possible, and she feels a foundation of healthy living is the greatest gift she can give them. She wants to show her children that passion leads to change and she hopes to be an example to them. Samantha enjoys her career in the Medical Device industry while writing weekly for the Asbury Park Press in the Health section. Samantha loves taking her kids on outdoor adventures throughout the state of NJ. Her favorite destinations are State and County parks, the boardwalk, and any walking or biking path she can find.