Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cheers to Fitness

For many of us, casual Friday is a day worth looking forward to all week. The mood seems a little lighter, the environment a little more relaxed. But for the students of Denton Creek Elementary School in Coppell, a recent Friday morning was anything but relaxed.

In fact, the mood was downright fun and the volume was turned up a few notable notches. The school gymnasium seemed to rock with the level of cheers and enthusiasm.

Why so pumped? Well, for starters, three members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders spent the morning with the students. Megan Fox, Makenzi Swicegood and Deryn Derbigny, all veterans of the glamorous squad, also happen to be members of the team's "power squad", the fittest of the fit so to speak.

So why were they there? The purpose of the visit was obvious through the presence of the fourth member of this group, Sgt. Jay Johnson, a nationally known fitness professional and trainer to the DCC. The kids were in for a serious boot camp . . . and some serious fun.
The group was invited to Denton Creek Elementary School by Coach Larned. His goals were simple. He wanted to reiterate the importance of fitness and nutrition to the youngsters in a fun presentation.

"We want the kids to know that fitness is not work; you can enjoy moving and it's fun," Coach Larned said. "Plus they'll learn about nutrition and how to better help their bodies."
The children filled the gymnasium and were treated to a genuine "boot camp" series of exercises lead by Johnson. But they weren't alone. The three enthusiastic cheerleaders worked right along side of the kids. Johnson not only lead boot camp but offered real advice too about nutrition, encouraging the kids to stay away from sodas and doughnuts and make better choices when it comes to diet.

"Fitness is simple. It's not rocket science and anyone can do it," said Johnson.
It's no secret that obesity levels in our country have reached an alarming number. Coach Larned is acutely aware of that.

"Obesity is a problem in our country - especially in our state - and I'm thrilled that our state has gotten involved and that our schools are holding kids responsible," Coach Larned said.
After the children completed a series of exercises in the gymnasium, they were broken into groups for the course created for them outside. Once back inside, they were allowed to ask the Cheerleaders questions. Those questions ranged from "Who is your favorite Cowboy?" to "What's your favorite color?"

When the Cheerleaders were asked by one student who their role models were while growing up, the ladies answered unanimously that their parents were the role models that guided them. When the same question was asked of the kids, one little voice answered excitedly above the others, "Beyonce!"

What a reminder of how impressionable these children really are. Coach Larned took advantage of that fact by bringing in the world-famous ladies and their trainer.

"If I could have one Cheerleader out here every day all year long I would have no problems . . . the level of excitement has raised the roof," Coach Larned said.