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VENTURA | West Ventura County Focus

Children Participate in Special Fitness Day

May 08, 1997|REGINA HONG

Hearts pumping, adrenaline rushing, sweat forming, the students at Loma Vista Elementary School transformed their grassy field into a sea of bobbing heads as they exercised to beach tunes on a balmy day.

About 340 students trooped out of their classroom and onto the playground about 10 a.m. Wednesday and took a vow that would make doctors and health gurus proud. "I will eat healthy, I will get enough sleep, say no to drugs and cigarettes, exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes and encourage my family to follow," they shouted in unison.

As part of an international program called All Children Exercise Simultaneously, students at Loma Vista and 24 other elementary schools in Ventura and Ojai, joined millions of other students around the world who exercised for at least 15 minutes at the same time.

The Pierpont Racquetball Club has put on the event locally for five years to encourage children to get off the couch and onto the playing fields. The club's pumped-up aerobic instructor, Diane Lopez, led the children in a leg-lifting, hip-thrusting, arm-raising routine that brought on the sweat and giggles.

"Keep your abdominals tight," shouted Lopez into the microphone, her long hair swishing wildly from side to side. "Now start pumping up those legs more."

"Loopy, loop hands over the head like a roller coaster," one of the teachers at the back of the pack said, repeating Lopez's directions. One child turned to his classmate and said "My legs are getting heavy," before taking a mock tumble into the grass.

The aerobic routine may have pooped some kids out, but staying fit is a necessity, students said.

"It's important, because if you didn't exercise, you'd watch TV a lot and wouldn't want to play," said fourth-grader Joey Simmons.

Classmate Breanne Blankenburt stresses that starting a fitness regimen at a young age is especially vital.

"I think it's important because when you get older you realize you need to exercise more or you'll just turn fat and won't be as healthy," Breanne said.

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