“Workout Kid” Videos Bring Outdoor Recreation into Georgia Classrooms
tate Parks partner with Department of Education to combat childhood obesity
ATLANTA, May 3, 2012 -- Georgia’s State Parks and the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) have teamed up on a creative way to address the state’s childhood obesity epidemic. Together, they produced workout videos featuring Georgia’s own “CJ The Workout Kid.” The 10-year-old fitness instructor shows how classroom exercises can mimic outdoor recreation found in state parks.
Kicking off this spring, the short activity breaks are streamed into Georgia’s public elementary schools so that children can raise their heart rates and stretch their muscles while learning about Georgia’s environment and fun things to do outdoors.
The two videos were shot at Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs and Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville. Both showcase CJ Senter and two young fitness fans as they create exercises around park activities. Trivia about the parks occasionally appear on screen. The project was funded in part by the National Association of State Boards of Education.
At Amicalola Falls, CJ and his friends do squats as if they were water rushing over the falls. They jog in place while pretending to run on a hiking trail, and flap their arms like flying bats. At Sweetwater Creek and Red Top Mountain, they mimic kayaking, fishing and even geocaching.
“Unfortunately, too few children get all the exercise they need, and this video give them an opportunity to move their bodies and take a break from their desks,” said Therese McGuire, a health and physical education specialist with DOE. “Hopefully, using a role model such as CJ and a fun setting such as state parks will encourage children to want to exercise more often.”
In addition to being streamed into classrooms, the videos are posted on You Tube and the Georgia State Parks’ Tons of Fun website (http://tonsoffun.org/workoutkid.aspx). Officials are encouraging parents to use the videos at home as quick breaks from television and computer games. They also hope that families will realize the value of state parks and outdoor recreation.
“People often think of state parks as places to go camping and spend a vacation,” said State Parks Director Becky Kelley. “Our parks are also a great resource for everyday exercise. Kids can explore nature trails and biking trails. Families can paddle across lakes. We have a wide range of physical activities at more than 40 parks across Georgia and fitness can literally be a walk in the park.”
“CJ The Workout Kid” is a Locust Grove native whose personal goal is to motivate other youngsters to love physical activity as much as he does. He has been featured on CNN, MSNBC and other news shows and has his own line of exercise videos.
The new “Instant Activity Breaks” videos are part of the Georgia State Park system’s Tons of Fun Fitness Challenge. The initiative encourages Georgians to create an online profile to track calories burned and weight lost. A trainer and nutritionist are available to answer questions on www.TonsofFun.org, and an event calendar lists activities such as guided hikes and bike races.
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