Originally published Jan. 1, 2019 by WCAX-TV.

A nationwide program from The American Heart Association is trying to keep students active in school, and address both their physical and emotional well-being. Chris Martinez shows us how it’s helping get students in Los Angeles on a healthy track for life.

For kids at LA’s Fairburn Elementary School, every morning starts with a workout.

activity programThe school-wide warm up is part of the American Heart Association’s ‘Kids Heart Challenge,’ a program designed to get school kids more active.

“It just puts you in a better mood,” said the Sasha Raddich, who leads the daily 20 minute exercise that brings students from every grade together. The high energy wake up is part of a program that supports traditional physical education and brings PE into the classroom with brain breaks. Class lessons are also designed to teach kids about health and wellness.

“Eat healthy, make healthy choices throughout life… stuff you hope they carry through, you’re giving them a base, a foundation now.”

Recent guidelines from the American Heart Association say kids ages three to five should have three hours a day of light to moderate exercise, while kids ages six to 17 should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.

The benefits aren’t lost on students like 10-year-old Yasmine Abai. “It really helps because it can make you stay fit and make your brain active so it’s not really like you’re lazy all day,” Abai said.

Experts say kids who are active have better physical health, brain function and attention and academic performance.

Parent Jason Richmond believes including all the kids together teaches vital social skills. “You are gonna have a five-year-old looking up to a seven-year-old and experience just being nice to a younger person. It’s just, it’s a win win,” he said.

And a winning strategy for a healthier life.

In addition to being more physically active, the Kids Heart Challenge also encourages kids to drink more water and do good deeds.

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