Inspired Woman wanted to know how an active person spends their day. Pam Carlen Ihmels was gracious enough to talk about her ‘typical’ day …

I am a Physical Education (PE) teacher, not a gym teacher. My classroom is a gym.

What do I do during the day? I get hugs from little kids. They can either hug me or give me a high five. I think I have the best job, personally. Most kids want to be in my class, they are very enthusiastic. I like the interaction and ‘adult’ conversations I can have with my high school students.

Pam stays active through a variety of activities

Pam stays active through a variety of activities

We have standards in PE and can teach them however we choose, as long as we meet those standards. Pinterest sometimes helps me with my lesson planning. I try to do a variety of things so they don’t get bored. High school is a bit more limited, but we can teach each unit (horseshoes, tennis) how we like. The (elementary) PE teachers meet once a month to talk about what is working and what is not. We share ideas.

Last year I had three schools. I started at Bismarck High with the early bird class at 7:20. On Mondays and Wednesdays I headed to Liberty to team teach, since there are so many kids up there, and then down to Will-Moore the rest of the day. Next year I will have the early bird class at Bismarck High and Will-Moore.

Sometimes it is like a revolving door with one class coming into the gym and another leaving. There are days when there isn’t even time for a bathroom break all morning.

Some teachers may have equipment on the side to switch back and forth because we don’t teach the same developmental lesson to a 1st grader that we do to a 4th grader. Fortunately my schedule is pretty fluent from one grade level to another.

We have to be flexible because the gym is used for several functions in a school. If we are supposed to be outside and the weather doesn’t cooperate we just figure out a different activity.

Research shows that movement is important for learning. Part of my responsibilities this year will be getting the kids to move throughout the day. We will be doing ‘brain breaks’ where, after so many minutes, the kids will get up and do some sort of movement or activity, just to keep the brain active. Kids can’t sit very long before they get fidgety. Moving for fifteen minutes before a big exam increases brain activity and can help with test scores.

I walk to stay in shape. I got a yellow lab, Kota, four years ago and every morning she is whining to go out for her walk. I also like to bike and golf.

I am really into geocaching. This is something anyone can do and a great thing for families to do together. You can use a GPS or, the smartphone app is only $9.99. It gets people outdoors, and incorporates math and science. I have some that I have placed so I walk the trails to maintain them. I probably geocache once or twice a week. It is something you can do where ever you travel.

Students are not as active and not taking the initiative to be active. They are content to sit in front of the computer or the television. Fitness scores have gone down, they are not doing anything to increase their flexibility and strength. Parents need to get the kids outside, go for a family bike ride or a hike. Go to the park and play frisbee. Geocache!You don’t have to spend a lot of money to stay active.