By Jim Misunas
LARNED — There was plenty of jumping, running and exercise Friday at the Fort Larned National Historic Site. The third-graders were coached and directed by seventh- and eighth-graders from Larned Middle School.
More than 600 third-grade students from 17 Kansas schools participated in morning and afternoon activity sessions at Fort Larned to mark Kansas Kids Fitness Day, sponsored by the Governor’s Council on Fitness Friday.
It marked the third year Fort Larned has hosted Fitness Day, and this year it was bigger than ever.
Elementary students from central and western Kansas schools participated in outdoor activities, games and relays “frontier style” enjoying such favorites as the “soldier cannon pull” and the “fire brigade.” Living-history interpreters were on hand to introduce students and teachers to Fort Larned and its history.
Some of the featured events included Buddy Walkers, Can-Can Relays, Clean Up Your Own Backyard, Clothesline Relay, Fling It, Fitness Fever, Got Milk, Hoop Line Drills, Hoop Relays & Hoop Partner Stations, Hurdle Hopscotch Circuit, Jump the Brook, King/Queen of the Jungle, Life Saver, Parachute, Push Ball Relays, Roll and Run, Sink the Bucket, Speed Bowling, Stratego, Team Bocce, Throw and Go, Touch 25 and Triangle Ball.
Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day is a statewide event held the first Friday in May. This event focuses on increasing physical activity and safety awareness among third-grade students in Kansas. Nearly 18,000 students participate each year at more than 40 sites across the state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children and adolescents participate in 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily. The benefits associated with regular physical activity include: weight control, increased muscular strength, improved bone mass, improved cardiovascular fitness, decreased blood pressure, improved self-esteem, and reduced anxiety and stress.