Monday, May 21, 2007

Get in Shape Kids! Not Your Mother's Gym Class

About time someone got it. Healthy diet plus movement equals healthy lifestyle and weight.
Kids need their PE classes.

Get in Shape Kids! Not Your Mother's gym Class
AURORA, Ill. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Childhood obesity is a big problem. We don't know, or can't seem to achieve solutions. Not true for one school in Illinois that drastically changed its P.E. program to, not only get kids in shape, but to teach them healthy workout habits they hope will last a lifetime.
Kids can choose from the video game, Dance, Dance Revolution, weight machines or a hi-tech cross-training game called Makodo. All are part of five-day-a-week gym classes at this junior high school where their motto is: Getting fit for life.
Philip Lawler, a physical education expert and PE4life Director from Naperville, Illinois, explained the program to Ivanhoe. He says, "One day a week we focus on cardiovascular fitness. One day a week is muscular strength. And the other ones we do team activity the same sports models that we used to do, but everything is small-sided games." He is seeing good results. Lawler says, "We have recently tested all of our students at our high school, and our rate of overweight and obese combined is 11 percent, compared to 35 percent nationwide. We are doing something here that works."
Bob Paras, M.D., of Castle Orthopaedics in Aurora, Illinois says supervision is a key to preventing injuries. Dr. Paras says, "They have to be shown proper technique, and they should be kind of continually assessed -- that they're still performing those exercises correctly."
The eighth graders say they like the workouts. Jeff Kawalek says, "It gets everyone started on like you know -- to be healthy and get active." Ashley Tegge thinks the lessons will stick with her. She says, "Probably throughout high school and probably when I'm older I'll go to the gym." "It makes you feel more self-confident and everything like that because you're actually getting fit," Jeff Depew exclaims.
The program's coordinators say they're teaching kids activities they can do throughout their lives, rather than games or sports that often die out after high school. The program's creator, Philip Lawler is now director of the PE4life academy where he teaches people from around the country how to implement similar programs in their schools.
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