First, I created a Google Form and posted it on Twitter to get responses. The survey started with some general questions: job title, years in education, and types of fitness activities participants engaged in. Then, I asked some open-ended questions. The 45 educators that responded were candid, thoughtful, and extremely relevant in their mindsets. Take a peek at the first set of questions.
That's some serious experience! Seems like a pretty good cross-section of jobs in education. Notice the running and walking trends? And I really wonder what types of "other" fitness activities are taking place. Could be another survey.
Now let's get to the real meat of the survey. My first step in analyzing the data was to cut and paste the responses into a word cloud generator. Take a look at the most commonly used words and phrases.
The open-ended questions were super insightful. I honestly could have recorded any one of them here, but for the sake of space, I chose 6 from each.
#Why do you exercise?
- “I exercise for the physical fitness but it also serves as an outlet from the stressors within our profession and provides the time I need for reflection. Exercise allows time for me to establish goals and a plan for how to achieve them.” @matthew_arend
- “Exercise is a big part of my life. It is about energy management and mood. I find that when I'm in a solid fitness regimen, my overall happiness levels increase and I have the energy to be effective at school and home. I'm responsible for 493 children (two of them biological) and they deserve my best. Exercise ensures that I'm on my game.” @MrCourington53
- “My morning run is my happy place. It gives me a chance to prepare for my day and provides a sense of accomplishment. I have learned how to set goals and achieve them with persistence. It also models the importance of balance for others!” @Laura_Jennaro
- “I started exercising 5 years ago to lose weight. I lost 40 pounds and have stayed at my current weight for the last 3.5 years. I continue exercising because I enjoy it! I ride my bike to work, go on runs and hikes with my dogs, and just take in nature.” @Johannabrown
- "Enjoyment, be a role model, compete." @andycolstonhpe
- "To keep relatively fit and to spend time outside. Reduces stress and increases appreciation for nature and non-tangibles like friendship and mental growth." @DrHirschmann
#What impact do you think an educator’s health/fitness has on their job performance?
- "The impact of health is huge. The life of an educator is demanding. You are constantly acting in the service of others and need to be at your best to do so." @MrCouringtom53
- “The more balanced we feel, the better we take care of ourselves, the better educators we are.” @teresagross625
- “When you exercise, you have a positive outlook, you have the stamina to endure the whole day of teaching as well as less incidence of absenteeism, lots of energy to share with students, and most of all, you feel good with yourself.” @rizzapiccio
- “It has everything to do with job performance! It keeps your brain clear and focused. It helps you stay on your feet all day, and it also helps you make better food choices at work.” @Lisa_drye
- “Tons. It keeps us alert, positive, and we can be role models for our students.” @ajmerritt
- “My workouts are a barometer of my stress at work. I know that if my lifts are suffering or I'm tired in class, I've been struggling too much at work. The more I can get to the gym to work out the better I feel overall.” @Ms_corcoran_207
#Please share a motivational tip.
- “From Ray Lewis: I'm pissed off for greatness. If you aren't pissed off for greatness, then you're okay with being mediocre. And no man is okay with being basic.” @LoadmanHHS
- “Don’t get overwhelmed by the need for a 60 min workout. A 10 minute walk is still better than 10 minutes on the couch.” @msventurino
- "’Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you've eaten.’ I forget who said this. It is a poster in my gym locker room.” @SusMcCand
- “This is what I tell my children when they try to resist eating something healthy or doing something physical: ‘Your body says thank you.’" @maryterry2015
- "'You can do it!' in my best Waterboy accent." @seanathom
- "When your body is ready to quit, your brain must push you forward! It's all in your head!" @SMAnderson4
As we can see, we educators are pretty passionate about fitness. In a profession that requires us to be on top of our game, it's vital that we take care of ourselves. Whether it's a brisk walk, a Spartan Run, a hike in nature, or an intense weight lifting session, taking care of our physical bodies will enable us to maintain a healthy mind as well. As @RaRaPenquin wrote, "It's that little extra that makes the difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary." It's time, dear friends, to be extra-ordinary for our families, for our students, for ourselves.
A couple of great hashtags to follow are #FitnessEdu, #FitLeaders, and #EduHike.
And my personal motto, #HealthyBodyHealthyMind.
Live it out everyday because our kids are watching . . . #HustleAndHeart
It's time to get fit!!!
Marilyn . . .