Spokane P.E. teacher creates virtual gym on YouTube to keep his students staying active

SPOKANE, Wash. — Mr. Balfour is like any other Spokane public school teacher right now, trying to provide online resources for his students to continue their learning.

Well, he’s a P.E. Teacher and his students are learning all about health and fitness.

Mikael Balfour is the health and fitness and P.E. teacher at Ridgeview Elementary school.

He used resources from the Spokane Public Schools website and his own teachings to start a YouTube channel called ‘Mr. Balfour’s Virtual Gym’ to virtually keep his students healthy and active.

“Even though I can’t physically connect with my students, I feel like I’m giving them the opportunities, the best I can right now, even though we can’t be in the gym together. And I feel like it’s my responsibility as their teacher,” said Balfour.

Once or twice a week, Balfour will post a YouTube video.

The exercises vary from basic movement to push-ups to jump-roping.

He’ll also demonstrate different levels of exercise — keeping things simple for his kindergartners and doing more complex exercises for his older students while involving an anatomy lesson.

“I always try to talk about whatever we’re doing in class. I try to incorporate anatomy as far as muscular anatomy, bone anatomy. I use a lot of points of reference. Like cranium when we’re doing curl-ups, your cranium comes off the floor. You’re touching your patella.”

Balfour said he has so many home health and fitness ideas for his students, that he may begin to post more videos each week.

He plans to do a series of videos on homemade exercise equipment, inspired by things he does with his own son who’s in kindergarten.

Things like making a rag ball out of socks and a pool noodle bat.

He said you can also have some fun with the rag ball and some empty water bottles.

“Everybody probably has one or two of these [empty water bottles] laying around, so we’re going to do a little bit of targeting. So throwing this ball, underhand, overhand,” said Balfour. “I also thought, my son likes bowling, so we thought we might try setting up a bunch of those and bowling.”

And these exercises aren’t just for his students. Anyone can do them!

He said he’s gotten positive feedback from students who say they’ve gotten the whole family involved in exercising using the virtual gym.

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