Online Press Release and Photos:
"Having Fun Getting Fit"
December 16, 2010
Havin' fun gettin' fit
Bill Grimes Effingham Daily News
NEOGA — Nikki Miah wasn’t having much trouble
mastering the weighted hoops that her physical education
teacher let her and some of her classmates try out during
a recent school day.
“It’s about balance,” Miah
said. “A regular hula hoop has less weight, so it’s
harder to keep your balance.”
The three-pound hoops — a heavier
version of the venerable Wham-O! Hula Hoop — are part
of a new fitness program at the school sponsored by Project
Fit America and funded by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
Physical education teacher Maureen Letizia
said the Project Fit curriculum was kicked off Oct. 6, but
is only now starting to be introduced to individual classes.
“We’ve implemented the program
in bits and pieces,” Letizia said. “What’s
nice is that it fits into our curriculum by adding a thought
“It gets them moving without thinking
they are moving.”
Gone is the drudgery — to some — of
jogging laps on the track. Instead, the program includes
a number of games that incorporate fitness activities — such
as the weighted hoops.
“We’re fooling them into
getting fit,” Letizia said. “If you can get a
kid moving 30 minutes a day, his cardiovascular endurance
and strength will increase.”
Not only did the $16,000 grant enable
the school to buy hoops, but an outdoor fitness area was
developed. Letizia said the public is invited to use the
fitness area, which includes pull-up bars, a situp bench
and other tools.
Sixth-grader Vicki Alumbaugh said the
hoops help make fitness fun.
“It helps us exercise in a fun
way,” she said.
Miah said the motivated student can use
the program to become more fit.
“It’s fun to do because you
can challenge yourself and see what you can do,” she
Principal Seth James said the program
also has an academic component that helps encourage students
to practice good nutrition habits and positive lifestyle
“This program allows us to educate
the whole child,” James said. “One side is physical
fitness using workout stations, but there’s also the
side of learning how to make good decisions that will serve
our students well.”
The California-based Project Fit America
was founded in 1990. The project has facilitated hospital
to school contributions of more than $9 million nationwide
since then. Overall, more than 750 schools in 40 states have
participated in the program.