“Thunder Strong Kids” to improve elementary physical and mental fitness

This year, the Central Valley Physical Education department introduces “Thunder Strong Kids” into Barringer Road and Fisher elementary schools.

Thunder Strong Kids accomplishes two important goals. It increases the time elementary students spend in physical education and provides more opportunity for aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise elevates heart rate and breathing, strengthening young hearts and lungs. Regular exercise builds healthy habits that help control cholesterol, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, improve immune function, and lower blood pressure.

But the benefits of exercise are not limited to muscles and bones. Exercise helps grow and maintain healthy brains. That’s right, brains.

Aerobic exercise fills the blood with oxygen. Oxygen is critical to maintain healthy brain cells. Exercise also releases a variety of hormones that promote brain growth and memory. Research shows that regular exercise can improve classroom performance.

Teachers have the opportunity to enroll their classes in a 20-minute time slot during the six-day class cycle. Combined with regular physical education classes, students would have 55 or 90 minutes of physical activity each week. Barringer Road students will participate in activities such as yoga, dance, an indoor fitness trail.  Fisher elementary will focus on age-appropriate fitness centers geared toward fine and gross motor skills and locomotor skills.

Newly hired physical education teacher Alex Prue will spearhead the “Thunder Strong Kids” program in both schools. Mr. Prue is a graduate of New Hartford and earned his Bachelor’s in Physical Education from SUNY Cortland.