Learning while exercising with PowerUp Fitness

Learning can often be boring for students, particularly in elementary schools, who sometimes want nothing more than to go outside and run around with their friends. Carter County schools are looking for ways to combine the two, expanding students’ love for both learning and exercise at the same time.

Carter County Schools is officially partnering with PowerUp Fitness, with the help of United Way of Carter County, in order to provide new learning opportunities while keeping the students as engaged as possible.

As part of the partnership, PowerUp will be going into four county schools: Hampton Elementary, Happy Valley Middle, Unaka Elementary and Keenburg Elementary.

“I spoke with Carter Cares late this summer,” CEO of PowerUp Stacey Baugues said. “I have known Sonya [Miller] for a few years. [..] She has a passion for wellness.”

The program allows students in after school programs to utilize exercise and movement to bringing educational topics into a new light.

Currently, there are eight elementary Carter Cares After School sites, and though PowerUp is starting with only four schools, they hope to expand the program to more schools once the program takes off.

An example would be making kids jump in the shape of a triangle or older kids having to jump three times per side of a triangle to also teach multiplication.

“Some of the best ways to teach something is to do something,” she said. “Most of us are kinetic learners.”

She said it is easier to engage with students academically if they are having fun, and getting some exercise is a great way to do that, she said, because children love to move around anyway.

“Kids are natural movers,” Baugues said. “This is really going to have the most impact.”

PowerUp started as a personal project in 2012, but after going official just this summer, reached roughly 24 schools in five states.

“If they can find our own version of joyful movement, they are more likely to have a life of physical activity,” she said.

She said the program has been a passion of hers for many years, and to see its success across the region is a big deal.

“It is such an honor to be leading this program,” Baugues said. “It is an opportunity to have an impact on kids’ lives.”

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