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Students follow trail to fitness

Alissa Widman Neese • Oct 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM

She guided the group along a newly installed fitness trail and carefully demonstrated how to use its equipment, including a body curl bench, step-up station and chin-up bars.


Jace Danda, 6, giggled as his classmates clutched a metal bar and practiced “donkey kicks,” a beginner’s exercise used to build leg muscles. They kicked backward with one leg while carefully balancing on the other.

“I think getting to exercise on all this stuff is really fun,” Danda said.

Construction crews installed a fitness trail and 10 equipment stations at the Edison Elementary School athletic field in late September, a project made possible by a collaboration of local groups striving to improve physical fitness.

Fisher-Titus Medical Center provided half the cost, with the Berlin-Milan Sports Youth League, Edison Schools Wellness Committee, Edison Athletic Boosters and Milan Melon Festival Committee providing the remainder. The entire project cost about $13,400.

Want to help?

Edison Schools officials hope to soon mulch the Edison Elementary School fitness trail. Those interested in donating funds to the project or its continued maintenance can contact the school at 419-499-4625.

Its goal: combat childhood obesity and encourage physical fitness by showing students it can be fun.

“We were so excited to be involved with this because we believe it will have a significant impact,” said Michele Skinn, Fisher-Titus Foundation director. “The entire community needs to support and believe in the importance of the health of our children. No one entity can do it alone.”

Edison Elementary School’s students earned full use of the equipment by participating in “Walking Wednesdays” and “Thursday Trot” — days designated for specific grade levels to walk a half-mile on the trail during recess.

After walking for five recesses to kick off the school year, students can now use the fitness trail and its equipment during outdoor recess all year long, Parcher said. They’ll also use it during gym classes to prepare for mandated physical fitness tests.

“If we encourage this behavior when they’re young, we’ll have an overall healthier district,” Parcher said. “We’re going to track our test scores and see how they improve as we continue to use the trail each year, to show its impact.”

First-grader Ivy Kluding, 7, said she’s also looking forward to using the fitness trail after school.

Those involved in the project said it’s important the trail is available for public use at anytime, so it will benefit the entire community. It’s located near a playground, batting cage and baseball and softball diamonds.

“Now when we come to watch my brother’s baseball games I can use it whenever I want,” Kluding said.

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