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School gets kids moving

Crestmont kids take part in Project Fit
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein The Press-Tribune
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You’ve heard of No Child Left Behind. But at Crestmont Elementary in Roseville, it’s all about getting kids off their behinds. Students at the kindergarten through fifth-grade school this week celebrated the arrival of brand new exercise equipment as part of the Project Fit America program. And while the bevy of red and blue outdoor fitness stations might look a lot like playground trappings, make no mistake: it’s all about cardio, core and conditioning. “This is to help our PE program help you get into better shape, better physical condition,” Principal Richard Sorenson told students during a Monday ceremony to welcome the program. The installation was made possible by a grant from Sutter Roseville Medical Center and Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, which has been providing schools funds to purchase and install the package of indoor and outdoor equipment for several years. The school is one of six in Placer County to receive the grant this year. “This program really can make a difference in your lives,” said Sutter school outreach coordinator Liz Honeycutt. It’s a message that’s more important than ever these days, with studies showing American children receive less than 15 minutes of physical activity a day, Sorenson said. But Project Fit is designed to change all that. A nonprofit group that seeks to combat physical inactivity and its attendant health problems among the nation’s youth, Project Fit has helped outfit more than 450 elementary and middle schools with its specially designed workout hardware since 1990. The outdoor equipment includes everything from pull-up bars to a pole climb, all designed to address the specific areas in which students routinely fail fitness tests, including upper body and core strength as well as cardiovascular fitness. There’s also stuff to keep the activity going indoors, such as weighted hula hoops that strengthen abs. “You’re going to get so much stronger on this,” said PE teacher Dan Macomber, who applied for the Sutter grant. “Not only can you do sit-ups and push-ups, you can do so much more.” “This kind of stuff helps you work on your core, and it’s good because you get so bored doing the same thing,” said PE teacher Connie Rowden. The course is supposed to be fun as well as work, with students aiming for class, school and overall records; they can see how they stack up by visiting the Project Fit Web site, at www.projectfitamerica.org. But on Monday, students battled for fitness top honors with teachers, their principal, and KNCI radio personality Tom Mailey, who came out to emcee the event. Said Sorenson after a particularly abs-bruising sit-up contest: “Right now I feel fine. But talk to me tomorrow.”