Archive for Thursday, March 3, 2005

Here to pump you up

March 3, 2005

Eudora's teachers and school district staff have one less excuse to not exercise.

Eudora Middle School Activities Director Phil Katzenmeier has organized a program that takes teachers out of the classroom and into the gym. The Staff Wellness Program is a districtwide program open to all full-time and part-time employees and their families.

The program has given school district employees easy access to facilities, equipment and their own personal trainer -- Katzenmeier.

"It's something I've always wanted to start," he said.

Participants meet Monday through Friday after school for weight training, running laps, running stairs and other exercises.

"After the first week they definitely experienced training pain," Katzenmeier said.

Recently a new instructor was recruited to lead those who want to participate in aerobics.

The fitness program, now in its seventh week, is provided to district employees at no cost.

"My goal was to make it so they had no excuse not to come," he said.

While there were several regular participants, Katzenmeier said there was room for more.

"I'll take anybody," he said. "I'd like to see more people take advantage of the opportunity."

Beth Zimmerman teaches eighth grade at Eudora Middle School and is a regular participant in the Staff Wellness Program. She does weight training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and walks on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"I'm really enjoying it," she said. "I hadn't been doing anything like this on a regular basis. I feel better and it gives me some more energy during the day. The hardest part was getting started."

Katzenmeier, who earned a master's degree in exercise physiology from Kansas University, is also a coach for middle school football and high school track. He said it was important to a person's overall well-being to get enough exercise.

"Times have changed and we spend more time sitting than people used to," he said.

Funds for the program came from a grant awarded to Eudora USD 491 by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Board of Education.

The total amount awarded to the district was $3,500, to go toward programs that encourage healthy habits in students and staff.

School nurse Kathy Kellerman said $300 would go toward the Staff Wellness Program. Some other projects receiving funds from the grant included an upcoming health fair and a program called Physical Activity Across the Curriculum, which incorporates physical activities into academic subjects.

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