Technology has brought us many glorious things, like iPads, rocket ships, and Shmoop. But nothing is more glorious than the opportunity to learn about health and physical fitness from Shmoop.
In this Health Opportunities Through Physical Education course, aligned to Florida state standards, you'll learn how to manage your own health and fitness. By the end of our lessons, projects, and workouts, you'll be able to
- care for the mental health of yourself and others.
- plan a fitness routine which improves your cardiovascular fitness, strength and endurance, and flexibility.
- understand the basics of nutrition and plan a healthy diet.
- integrate healthy practices and physical activity into your lifestyle.
- develop the knowledge to know what's fitness wisdom and what's bunk.
This is the first semester of our HOPE course. Check out Semester B here.
Unit 1. Intro to Health and Wellness
This unit is your introduction to the wonderful world of health and fitness. We'll learn what health is, take a fitness assessment, and learn the basics of how and why to exercise.
Unit 2. Mental and Social Health
In this second unit of our HOPE course, we cover the basics of mental and social health, including goal setting, dealing with stress, depression, peer pressure, and how the heck to make good decisions when you're a hormonal teen.
Unit 3. Nutrition and Wellness
This unit covers the basics of nutrition and bodily management. You'll learn about macronutrients and micronutrients, how to plan a healthy meal, and when nutrition goes wrong: eating disorders and obesity.
Unit 4. Planning a Fitness Program
This unit focuses on how to fit all the pieces of fitness together to make a personal fitness plan. It'll go over the nitty-gritty of cardio, flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, how to put a workout together, and planning a long-term fitness program for oneself.
Sample Lesson - Introduction
Lesson 6: Skills Matter, Too
Imagine a ballerina who keeps falling down. Or a baseball player who can't move quickly enough to catch a ball. A basketball player who can't dribble the ball and run at the same time (which we are totally guilty of, btw). Or a quarterback who just really sucks at dodging linebackers.
You could be the fittest, buffest athlete who ever lived, with the most sculpted calves and chiseled abs, but if you're lacking physical fitness skills, you're not going to succeed. Ballerinas with no balance just aren't going to make it.
In this lesson, we'll go over the skills-related components of physical fitness: agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, and reaction time. These guys are on the other side of the fitness coin from the health-related components of fitness we learned about earlier.
While you need the health-related components of physical fitness to be a healthy athlete (or person), you need the skill-related components of physical fitness to be a successful athlete. Skills are what set Kobe Bryant apart from Kim Kardashian or Muhammad Ali apart from Justin Bieber. The latter might put in their six hours of exercise every week, but there's no way they could deftly maneuver around opponents and slam dunk a basketball in the hoop like NBA ballers. Because those guys have skillz.
That doesn't mean we should give up trying to increase our agility or balance. Health and skills components of fitness actually go hand in hand. It's hard to pursue running if you're tripping over yourself the whole time or increase your strength without increasing your power. You can be healthy and skillful. Our goal: yak racing champion of the world.
We'll also wrap up our testing today with two final strength, endurance, and flexibility assessments: the push-up (yes, the "drop and give me 20" kind) and the sit & reach.
Sample Lesson - Reading
Reading 1.6: Skills-Related Physical Fitness
Luckily, you aren't born with skills (or without them). When it comes to physical fitness, skills are developed. Sure, we all have a genetic predisposition toward certain fitness skills, but there are tons of exercises that we can do to build up our fitness skills. That means with just a little practice, you can improve your ability to hit a baseball, to run more quickly, to not fall over while attempting downward facing dog, or to achieve that killer tennis serve.
So without further ado, let's figure out what's up with these skill-related components of physical fitness.
Agility is the ability to move your body quickly while maintaining control. Think about dogs who weave back and forth between cones—that's agility. In the world of humans, agility is super necessary for moving quickly and efficiently. Soccer and football players need agility to dart back and forth, avoiding opponents or trying to take 'em down. Dancers need agility to be able to move into different configurations quickly and efficiently. Divers need to be able to quickly contort their bodies into different positions.
Balance refers to the ability to, uh, not fall down. To be more official about it, balance means maintaining your center of gravity and base of support while standing still or moving. In other words...not falling down, no matter what you're doing. Dancers and gymnasts need awesome balance to avoid falling flat on their faces when doing complicated maneuvers. Balance is trickier than you think. Try standing on one foot for 15 seconds without falling over. Seriously. Yeah, it's hard.
Coordination means that you can use two parts of your body at the same time without getting all tangled up with yourself. Can you run and dribble a basketball at the same time? Congrats! You have good coordination. Can you bounce two balls at the same time? You, uh, might want to work on that. Tons of sports that involve balls—throwing them, catching them, kicking them—require good coordination.
Power is all about using your strength quickly. No, we're not talking about pumping iron in rapid-fire succession like a manic body builder—power involves using strength while moving (or to move), like if you need to throw a heavy ball really hard (think, shot-put) or launch yourself into the air in a high jump or to avoid the mouse that just appeared by your foot. Yeah, power's a tricky combo skill that pairs up strength (a health-related component of fitness) and speed (another skill). Way to confuse us, fitness writers.
Speed's an easy one. It's all about moving quickly, whether it's a movement—like killing a fly before it even knew what hit it—or a distance—like sprinting from one end of the football field to another. Speed helps soccer players outrun their opponents or swimmers to soar (glide?) through the water or Frisbee players to intercept the Frisbee from their poor, slow friends. Suckers.
Reaction time is about how quickly you can, uh, react to stuff that happens. It involves speed, sure, but it also involves how quickly your brain and limbs can get their acts together and move after being stimulated. If you've got awesome reaction times, you're quick off the block in swimming or track or quick to dodge a punch in boxing. If you're slow on reaction time, your opponent might aim a tennis ball at your face, and you won't be able to react until after it leaves a chalk mark on your forehead. Yikes.
Sample Lesson - Activity
Activity 1.6a: Pick a Sport, Part 2
Let's start thinking about the ways in which different sports interact with the five components of skills-related fitness. Sound familiar? Yep! We're going to do the same activity we did in the last lesson, but for skills-related components of fitness.
Pick two different sports, preferably sports (or organized activities) that you're fairly familiar with or have tried yourself. If you need some suggestions, try: cycling, sailing, golf, sprinting, hiking, or ballroom dancing. Underwater basket weaving doesn't count.
Now, think about how those five components of skills-related fitness show up in your sports.
For example, does rugby promote agility? How? How about balance? Do you have to have good balance to be a good rugby player? What sorts of movements in rugby might you need to have good reaction time for? Do you think rugby requires you to have a need, er, proficiency for speed?
Write up a short paragraph for each sport about how the five skills-related components of fitness show up (or not) in it. Be sure to address all five components for each.
Once you've analyzed each sport individually, we'd like a third paragraph comparing and contrasting the skills-related components of your two sports. Does one sport require power, while the other is more about balance? Do both sports or activities require agility? Will they help you work on your coordination?
Write your paragraphs in a word processing doc and then upload it below.
Sample Lesson - Activity
Activity 1.6b: Push-up and Sit-and-Reach Tests
It's the last day of tests! Put your hands in the air. Rejoice. And then put your workout clothes on.
Before going straight into the tests, let's warm up, shall we? Head outside for a brisk five-minute walk to loosen up the bod. Then come back in and move and groove it along with this warm-up video. Oh YouTube, how we love thee.
Once again, go grab your mat or towel if you don't want your hands to touch the grimy floor, but you don't actually need it for these tests. Make sure your handout is handy.
Test 1: The Push-up Test
You probably know all about push-ups. You know that they're the bane of your existence, and you're gonna punch the next person who tells you to drop and give them 20. Well, good thing we're not right there next to you, because that's exactly what we want you to do.
So...we're going to do some push-ups right now and test how much upper-body strength we have.
Here's the skinny:
Step One: First of all, watch this incredibly boring video from the California Department of Education describing how to do the test. Pay close attention to what they say about the correct form. Your back should stay straight, your butt should be tucked in (no duck butt), and when you lower yourself down, your elbows should reach a 90° angle.
Step Two: Cue up the official Push-up Cadence on your computer. Grab your trusted adult to watch you and critique your form and help you count.
Step Three: Get in position. You want your toes tucked under, your back straight, and your arms straight. Press play and start doing your push-ups! When the dude on the video says down, lower yourself down until your arms reach a 90° angle, when he says up, push yourself back up. Do as many as you can before you get too tired to continue.
Step Four: Record your score and move on to the next test.
Test 2: Sit-and-Reach Tests
Our final test assesses how flexible your hamstrings are. Those are the big muscles at the back of the legs, for the anatomy-impaired.
To do this test, you'll need a ruler and a box that's about 12 inches tall. If you have steps in your house, you could also use the bottom step instead of the box. Got 'em in hand? let's go.
Step One: First, check out our old friend the California Department of Education to figure out how the Sit-and-Reach Test works.
Step Two: Next, set up your box. You want your box to lean up against a wall and be sturdy enough that your feet won't move or crush it if you lean them up against it. Stairs are good to go. Get your ruler (it works best if it's longer than 12 inches). Have your ruler stick out off of the box 9 inches, with the 0-inch mark being closest to you. Attach the ruler somehow so it won't move; tape works best.
Step Three: Now, set up your body. You'll need to do each leg individually. Straighten your left leg and put your (shoeless) foot up straight against the box. Bend your right leg. Put one hand on top of the other like a hand spear (just go with it) and reach forward four times. On the fourth time, hold the stretch long enough for someone to assess how far down the ruler you can reach. Then repeat with the other leg. Record both scores (should ideally be in the 8- to 11-inch range) on your handout!
- Course Length: 18 weeks
- Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12
- Course Type: Basic
- Health, Physical Education, and Counseling
Just what the heck is a Shmoop Online Course?
Common Core Standards
The following Common Core Standards are covered in this course:CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.6