While a healthy lifestyle involves eating right and staying active, sometimes it is difficult to put those into action.
Two Pittsburg State University graduate students helped fifth-grade students at Meadowlark Elementary learn some fun ways to sustain activity and also talked with the students about healthy lifestyle choices during their physical education class on Monday.
Lindsey Gordon and Hillary Dickey both are graduate students in the field of human performance and wellness, and said they came up with the idea of working with area schools by doing presentations and getting children active.
"We had heard that it was Childhood Obesity Awareness Month," Dickey said. "We just started talking the first week of classes."
She said their studies encourage outside projects, and it was a natural fit.
"The masters program is designed so we can do research that we want to or projects that we are interested in," she said.
Their presentation talked with students about lifestyle choices that they need to make to remain healthy, including choosing their foods wisely, limiting their time with television, video games or tablets and getting plenty of activity.
"After you’re done eating, you should be active for 10 minutes," Gordon told the students. "If you put gas in the tank and then you don’t go anywhere, it just sits there."
She said being active for 10 minutes after meals and for at least one hour outside of school (time not including recess or physical education classes) is also important.
They both stressed that children need to own their healthy choices, including asking parents for fruits and veggies and being intentionally active.
They then had students take turns at stations having fun staying active, and watched as students jumped on steps, hula hooped, did crunches, push ups, jumping jacks and more.
Students quickly worked up a sweat, and some were a little short of breath after a few rotations, but most were still smiling and declaring favorites.
"The jumping," said Kole Perez of his favorite. "I like the stepping stones."
"Mine is probably the running station," said Caleb Redd.
Lathan Molina said he also liked the jumping station, and tries to stay fairly active after school.
"Does like five hours count?" he asked about adequate activity. "I just usually play outside or soccer."
Redd added that he enjoys going to the park down the street from his house to stay active.
"We have two hours of football and I get three hours of hunting and fishing," Kyle Wescott said.
Redd, Wescott and Blairin Eversole said they keep busy with football, and that their football team helped prepare them for the exercises they experienced in class Monday.
"This is awesome, because it gets us strong," Wescott said. "In football we pump our knees. We do everything we do here."
Eversole added that jumping on the steps also was her favorite.
The activities also helped reinforce the goals for students within physical education classes.
"We actually try to do stuff like this fairly often," said physical education teacher Megan Mantooth, who added that the community benefits from the students at PSU who come and help out with courses like hers.
But, she said it is nice for the students to hear the message from multiple people
"It’s nice to see it from other people’s perspective," Mantooth said.
Gordon and Dickey already have done this same program at several other area schools and will be taking it to Westside Elementary in the near future.