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In what has become a tradition, Mooseheart’s children are again shaking off the midwinter doldrums through a variety of activities as they celebrate “Fitness in February.” Beginning with a Jan. 31 school assembly, all children on-campus prepared for a month of games and activities to get feet moving and blood flowing as well as events that promote healthy eating and wellness.
In its sixth year, “Fitness in February” has grown from a small celebration to its current form, which involves all on-campus. In the first week, some students participated in “Pound,” a cardio workout that involves drum playing, floor hockey, dodge ball as well as healthy heart food tasting during the school’s lunch periods.
“We’re trying to teach the kids healthy habits. We want to focus on them being active and them having fun. Each year, it seems to get bigger and bigger,” Mooseheart Community Nurse Kathy O’Brien RN, MSN said.
This year, the high school’s Student Advisory Council has become involved in planning activities, which gives the students a voice in the events that will take place this month.
“It’s an effort by everybody on campus,” O’Brien said. “we hope this is going to lead to them being more active throughout the year.”
After some initial comments, the kick-off assembly divided into two groups for activities, with elementary schoolchildren playing games such as “Red Light, Green Light” in the Kay Cancie Gym while the middle school and high school played some other games in the Women of the Moose gym.
“We want to get the kids moving and it’s a great way to bring our community together,” Mooseheart Recreation Coordinator Bryan Miller said. “We wanted to get a jump on February and let them know the things that would be happening through the month.”
Throughout the assembly activities, students were smiling and laughing while they were participating. This is one of Fitness in February’s goals as well.
“Part of being a kid is having fun,” Miller said. “If we can incorporate that campus-wide through the use of movement, that’s all better for us. While they’re having fun, they’re moving, getting their heart rates up and we can defeat some of those negative nationwide statistics about children not being fit or active.”
Miller said the long-term benefits to being healthy and active may not become fully apparent until long after the children leave Mooseheart, though initiating a lifetime love of a healthy lifestyle is another of the program’s goals.
“If we can plant some seeds of healthy habits, we may not see those grow. But at least we can plant those seeds, so that when they leave Mooseheart, they will have some sense of what a healthy lifestyle is,” Miller said.