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Cooper Aerobics Rewards High Schoolers for Reaching Fitness Goals

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Boot Camp Training Gets Students in Shape for Life

It’s not every day that Texas public school students volunteer to take a test. But 75 high school students from Thomas Jefferson High School and McKinney ISD rose to the challenge and volunteered to put their fitness to the test. Cooper Fitness Center announced the results of the fall and spring Cooper High School programs today and awarded three participants with scholarships.

“I’m really proud of these students,” said Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics Center. “Childhood obesity is the health epidemic of our generation. I knew I had to do something to help kids in my own backyard.”

The students participated in a boot camp-style fitness regimen that included a 1-mile jog, dynamic stretching, and a series of creative circuits. Training was held at Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas and McKinney and was designed to help students improve their FITNESSGRAM scores.

“Our sessions were performed outside the gym and with minimal equipment to give them the tools to be active beyond this program,” said Meredith Rosson, who developed the Cooper High School program and directed the Dallas group.

Victoria Sisk, a 17-year-old junior from McKinney High School, said she entered the program with three goals, “I want to get healthy, lose 40 pounds, and make new friends.”

At the end of the fall 10-week program, the students were re-tested on the FITNESSGRAM tests, and their efforts paid off. Of the 35 students that participated—23 from Dallas and 12 from McKinney—more than 70 percent of students improved their mile-run time, number of push-ups, number of curl-ups, height in the trunk lift, and in stretching.

Carolina Rodriguez from Jefferson High went from not being able to do one curl up to completing 19, putting her in the healthy fitness zone for that exercise. Classmate Gustavo Campos shaved time off his mile run from an unhealthy 10:44 to a healthy 8:15.

Results from the 12-week spring semester program were even better. Of the 40 students that participated—29 from Dallas and 11 from McKinney—90 percent of students improved their mile-run time, push-ups, curl-ups, and trunk lift.

Jose Romero from Jefferson High improved his strength and flexibility by increasing his push-ups from 13 to 20 and gaining height in his trunk lift from 8.25 inches to 11.5 inches. Sarah Sterns from McKinney Boyd cut 2:44 seconds from her original mile run time of 12:04.

“These results offer a glimpse of what could happen across Texas if more students incorporate physical activity into their day,” Dr. Cooper added.

The Cooper Institute’s Our Kids’ Health Foundation funded the Cooper High School program and selected three students to receive $1,000 scholarships to recognize their efforts and fitness improvements throughout the program. The recipients are Jose Romero, 18, and Carolina Rodriguez, 18, from Thomas Jefferson High School and Sarah Sterns, 18, from McKinney Boyd High School.

“Improving your health is improving your life,” said Megan Howell, director of the Cooper High School program in McKinney, “and we hope the students continue to achieve both.”