“Do you feel that stretch?” Teresa Seymour calls from the top of the stage. “That’s your muscles telling you they don’t want to go any further.”

The fitness instructor is used to dealing with students. But this time, she’s addressing a unique audience: a room full of second graders at Frisco ISD’s Anderson Elementary in Plano.

“We as adults are here to train our kids,” Seymour said. “But something people forget is teaching them how to eat and how to move. We don’t teach them the basics of life—how to just be healthy.”

That’s something Anderson Elementary is working to change. Recently, the school hosted Seymour as part of a science lesson about flexibility.

“We’re studying the physical properties of matter,” said teacher Angela Hazzard. “We’re using play dough and rubber bands but this is something different. It gives them another visual in their mind to reinforce the concepts."

Seymour teaches PiYo, a combination of pilates, yoga and more. Her lesson with students focused on flexibility, balance and what muscles actually do when you exercise—lengthen and strengthen.

It’s just a small part of Anderson’s efforts to address childhood obesity, a problem that now affects 40 percent of school children in Texas.

“Everything is fast, processed and on-the-go,” said PE teacher Lynell Addis. “We need to get it together as a community.”

As the District’s only designated Healthy Zone School In Training, Anderson offers a variety of programs to promote health and nutrition. The Cooper Institute and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas provide resources and grant funding.

Other initiatives encourage students to walk or run 26 miles in six months. Free pedometers allow them to track their progress.

“We integrate all of our subjects together including fitness,” Hazzard said. “Whenever we can do that, it makes it more engaging for the kids and more fun.”

(Photo courtesy of Frisco ISD)

Featured Link