VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Residents should not be surprised if they see a lot school children out for a morning jog or walk. It is all part of Valhalla’s Virginia Road School before-school club that focuses on walking and jogging.
Activity in the morning wakes up the brain and results in increased attentiveness throughout the day. The new club is funded by a grant from Action for Healthy Kids, a national organization that promotes fitness, activity and nutrition in schools.
Seeing how Valhalla students could benefit, coach Alyse Doyle, who teaches at Virginia Road and Kensico School, sought the grant to enhance her students’ daily routines. The club is expected to begin in early October.
Research shows that many schools across the country do not meet nationwide fitness standards. Several only get half of the recommended time in gym classes.
Doyle applied for the grant to help students be more active while also encouraging socialization among peers.
“Promoting activity is so essential to kids,” Doyle said. “Since we can’t get enough time in gym, this will increase their movement. It will get children excited about moving. They’ll also be setting and reaching activity goals throughout the year, which gives them something to strive for.”
The new club also uses technology in the form of fitness trackers. The students will count their steps -- learning that 2,000 steps equals one mile -- and see how much their heart rates increase with physical activity. They will create milestones based on geography and note how many miles they walked to reach landmarks across America.
“This club will motivate many kids,” said Doyle. “It creates a new culture where being active together is the norm. This will bring the community together and celebrate what we’ve accomplished.”