Shepard trail offers exercise opportunities for school kids

Fitness stations by the school also give the community a chance to get fit.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:37 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Shepard Boulevard Elementary School students and the community have a new way to exercise. They can run on the new fitness trail surrounding the soccer field or stretch and work out their upper bodies at the seven fitness stations along the trail.

“We really felt that our children today spend too much time watching TV,” principal JoNetta Weaver said, “and if we can provide opportunities that get our children out and active, that will become a lifelong lesson. We know they need fitness, and the trail is a great way to get that.”

The fitness stations incorporate activities such as sit-ups, push-ups and stretching. Karla Armontrout, a physical education teacher, said the students can gain muscular and aerobic benefits from the trail. She said she sees quite a few students using it during recess.

“I think they’re very excited,” Armontrout said. “I notice that we have a lot of children using the equipment.”

Jake Floyd, a Shepard third-grader, said he likes to use the fitness trail and equipment and often uses the trail with his friends.

“It teaches me how I can get more active and do more fitness stuff,” he said.

The school received $15,000 from the city parks sales tax, and additional money for the trail was provided by the Shepard PTA. The school asked for the grant and assisted with the planning for the trail.

The trail is open to the surrounding community any time school is not in session, and Weaver said she often sees residents using the trail.

“We hope the whole neighborhood would get out there and use the trail,” Weaver said. “It also provides ownership to the school. If you’re out there walking on the trail, you are going to see the great things the school is doing.”

Exercising on the fitness trail can promote family time as well, Armontrout said.

“It’s an opportunity for parents and community to come back and enjoy spending some extra time with their children,” Armontrout said, “and do something healthy.”

A portion of this report first aired Monday during “News At 10” on KMIZ/Channel 17 ABC, Columbia.

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