SAN DIEGO - Since its inception two years ago, the American Council on Exercise's (ACE) Energy2 Burn program has motivated more than 43,000 youngsters to move.
In 1996, the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health announced that nearly half of American youths (ages 12-21) are not vigorously active on a regular basis and that one-fourth never participate in any kind of vigorous physical activity. Prompted by these startling findings, ACE launched Energy2 Burn to combat youth physical inactivity.
According to Sheryl Marks Brown, ACE's executive director, the innovative youth fitness program is offered to schools as a public service. The five-week program has reached hundreds of schools across the country, with ACE-certified volunteers using interactive classroom activities and ACE's lively Energy2 Burn video to encourage kids to become more physically active.
Marks Brown says the program has proved to be a resounding success with both youngsters and teachers. "Kids love the program, because it demonstrates how exercise can be uplifting and fun - not tedious work," she notes. "Educators also like Energy2 Burn, as it helps them teach students how to incorporate exercise into a daily routine."
Because ACE's research shows that 9- and 10-year-olds are the most receptive to the notion of exercise, the program is targeted specifically to 4th graders. "Kids this age are old enough to understand the information and to be positively influenced by it," Marks Brown explains.
During each session, instructors lead the students through an energized, 15-minute exercise routine, then teach them basic lessons, including:
- Gotta Move, a focus on the benefits of being active
- Proper warm-up and cool-down techniques
- How to have a safe and effective aerobic workout and measure your pulse
- Why it's important to drink water
- Review of lessons and introduction of the ACE Award Program, which provides incentives for participating in ongoing, regular physical activity.
Participating students receive an ACE Energy2 Burn Activity Logbook to motivate and support them throughout the program. Those who complete their books are awarded an Energy2 Burn Certificate of Achievement. The Energy Burn video is also left behind to help teachers continue the program in the classroom.
According to Marks Brown, Energy2 Burn was initially launched in 1993, when ACE successfully introduced an interactive pilot project for elementary school-aged kids throughout Southern California. The curriculum was patterned after a successful fitness program taught by Lorna L. Francis, Ph.D., a former ACE board member. Also key to the program's development was Ash Hayes, Ed.H., another former ACE board member and past executive director of The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Energy2 Burn was reviewed by the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and is supported by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s "workout watchdog," ACE conducts university-based research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.