Morning Mile fitness program kicks off at Savannah Primary

Students get a running start to the day

Savannah Primary School launched its first day of ‘Morning Mile’ with a great turnout. The early morning exercise regime allows pupils to get fit in a fun way before classes. - Photo: Jewel Levy

A new exercise regime which allows pupils to get fit in a fun way before classes got off to a running start at Savannah Primary Thursday morning.

The school officially launched its first day of “Morning Mile” with a great turnout.

The school adapted Morning Mile from a U.S.-developed program geared toward fighting childhood obesity by increasing the physical activity levels of schoolchildren before the school day starts.

From as early as 7:15 a.m., students began to exercise. Some walked, others danced and clapped their way around the field to the beat of their favorite hits, counting off laps and collecting tokens on their way to the finish line.

When a student reaches a total of 5 miles, he or she will receive a necklace chain with a colorful sneaker charm. Students will continue to receive one sneaker charm for each 5 miles completed. Students will also receive a “number 100” charm for every 100 miles they complete.

Principal Carol Nyack said the program was a huge success, and a great start to the students’ day.

“They are all winners. It helps their brain to function and be productive at the start of the day,” Ms. Nyack said.

Seven-year-old Jaysean Seymour, excited about the exercise program because he likes to run, said he was the fastest runner in his Grade 3 class and collected the most tokens – 18 in all.

Nine-year-old Lacey Arch was just as excited.

“It feels energetic and you want to do more stuff than just sitting in the hall … I enjoyed it. I’ll try to come every morning,” she said.

The program provides children the opportunity to exercise each morning, and works to fight childhood obesity.

“It allows students to expend youthful energy on the field, leaving them more likely to sit still and focus once the school day begins,” said Jacqueline Schofield, deputy principal at the Savannah school and organizer of the morning fitness workout.

She said the program will run the entire school year, Monday thru Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. Students will attempt to complete as many laps as they are comfortable with each morning. The laps will be totalled, and the students will be rewarded as they accumulate miles.

“It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and Savannah Primary School is thrilled to promote fitness and all the great benefits that go with it,” she said.

Fitness expert Fitz Koehler is the innovator behind the widespread implementation of the Morning Mile. In 2010, Ms. Koehler fell in love with the idea of letting kids start each day walking or running at school. When introduced to the concept, she said she originally thought, “I wish my kids could do that.” And then, as she tells it, her fitness expert instincts kicked in and she quickly changed her thinking to, “I really wish ALL kids could do that!” With help from a few schools that already had various styles of running/walking programs in place, Ms. Koehler put together a list of best practices and then added some extra touches.

For more information about the Morning Mile, visit www.morningmile.com or join the Morning Mile Facebook page.