Today we are spotlighting, Lacey Peters, who works for the Nebraska Department of Education and gives her time as the President of SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Education) Nebraska.

Tell us about your current work with the Nebraska Department of Education and SHAPE Nebraska.

I am the Health and Physical Education Program Leader for the Nebraska Department of Education and President of SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Education) Nebraska.  Both focus heavily on lesson and curriculum development for health and physical educators across the state.  This might come in the form of professional development opportunities, access to resources, new ideas for classroom activities, advocating for the profession, or simply as someone to assist in finding answers to questions. My main goal is to help districts, schools, teachers and students maximize their health and physical education programs and assist students to receive at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.  No matter the location or student population, every student in Nebraska should be provided an educationally beneficial program that provides them with the necessary prowess to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout their lifetime.

What led to your interest in public health/school wellness/physical education/nutrition?

I originally started out pre-med, I wanted to be a Physiatrist, and realized that my passion was to help people BEFORE they got sick or ill through prevention.  That is when I turned to education. I always enjoyed living an active lifestyle, but knew for every person that does, there are 2 or 3 that do not. My goal was to show people that physical activity can be fun and educate them on ways to make healthy choices for overall well-being.  Each individual needs to be equipped with the skills to be safely active while making healthy choices (i.e. stress management, healthy relationships, nutritional choices) that can be maintained outside of school and throughout their lifetime. What better way than to start when they are young.  Through teaching, I learned that parents and the community play a large role as well; therefore, I decided to get a Master’s Degree in Public Health – Physical Activity and Health Promotion. This allows me to reach children and adolescents, but also adults alike.

What physical activity philosophies or rituals have you instilled in your life?

After having a child, my rituals have definitely changed.  My triathlon and half marathon trainings have been tabled for the time and replaced with mini workout sessions with my babe; peek-a-boo crunches and push up smooches; cheesy, I know.  Either way, I try to incorporate small calisthenics involving my son into our new daily routines. Once the weather gets warmer, my husband and I will share our love of hiking, camping, canoeing, and being on the water with our little guy.  We can’t wait to get outside again! As for a philosophy, you have to love what you do. Physical activity not only improves how you feel physically, but also emotionally through the release of endorphins. So find something(s) you enjoy and simply move!