Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Adapt the 5BX to Make It Better
Ask students about the kinds of
exercises they have seen in "old" film clips and why we don't perform these
exercises any more. Elicit opinions about whether exercises fall into disuse
simply because they go out of fashion or because they are ineffective or
Tell students that in the early 1960s, the Royal Canadian Air Force developed a fitness program for its servicemen that could be performed with no equipment. It was revolutionary in its quick, structured, and easy to follow format. It was called 5BX (5 Basic eXercises) for men and XBX (10 Basic eXercises) for women. The programs became popular around the world and were published in many languages. Although they have fallen out of the mainstream, the programs still have a loyal following.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct small groups of students to the topic Getting Physical: Canada's Fitness Movement on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have them examine the clips titled "5 Basic eXercises", "Committing armchair suicide", and "Cops get fit", to see some exercises that are now outdated. In the clip "5 Basic eXercises", they should listen to the interview with Wing Commander Tett.
They can then search online for the actual exercises, choose a level that suits their own age and level of fitness, and attempt to perform the five exercises. For each exercise, students should work together to identify the muscle groups used and brainstorm possible reasons why the exercises are not still common.
Revisit and Reflect
Have students report their findings to the class. Ask each group to explain the value and the drawbacks of each exercise and to suggest an improvement or a replacement exercise. Encourage students to suggest additions to the program and explain their ideas.
Students can continue the 5BX or XBX systems for a longer period of time, following their progression through the levels and charts. They may also choose to research other outdated fitness fads to determine which were ineffective (such as vibrating belts), and which were dangerous (such as stiff leg deadlifts, toe touches).