VALLEY CITY, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – Valley City State University athletes helped kick off ON THE MOVE for Students which is a 4-week program that runs in March for over 900 elementary students in Barnes County before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

ON THE MOVE encourages K-grade 6 students to do at least 60 minutes of exercise on at least 5 days of the week. Physical activity is important for children as it has beneficial effects not only on body weight, but also on blood pressure, bone strength and academics including better grades, school attendance, and classroom behavior.

“Members of the VCSU football and track and field teams did a wonderful job talking to the elementary students about the importance of daily physical activity and good eating habits,” said Andrea Winter, licensed registered dietitian at ON THE MOVE at City County Health District. “The athletes also led the students through a series of warm-up exercises that the athletes do each day at practice. The elementary students really enjoyed meeting the student athletes and learning what it’s like to be on a college team!”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than one-quarter (24%) of children 6-17 years old participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

“Hats off to all the students and their families for continuing to record minutes in order to meet the goal of 60 minutes a day while we have been home and not in school,” states Sharon Buhr, licensed registered dietitian and chair of ON THE MOVE. “We have been excited to see on Facebook that so many students and parents are finding ways to stay active!”

Each spring, the students who meet their goals celebrate with a culminating activity by going to either the Youth Sports Complex for gymnastics or to the Gaukler Family Wellness Center pool.

Due to the recent school closures, ON THE MOVE plans to look into alternative incentive gifts as a way to wrap up the program.

ON THE MOVE encourages all students to continue to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day at home in the weeks ahead. Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety for the whole family. Be sure to check out VCPS Elementary P.E. on Facebook to see pictures of local students staying active!

The schools participating in ON THE MOVE this year included Barnes County North, Maple Valley, Litchville-Marion, and St. Catherine, Jefferson and Washington Schools in Valley City. ON THE MOVE for Students is sponsored by the Barnes ON THE MOVE Partnership.

The feature photo includes Valley City State University football and track and field athletes helped kick off ON THE MOVE for Students in kindergarten – grade 6 in all Barnes County schools. The program encourages students to do at least 60 minutes of exercise on at least 5 days of the week and runs during the month of March.