Originally published Sept. 18, 2019 by WJLA-TV.

By Kellye Lynn

The wheels are turning at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary in Alexandria.

“I’m riding a bike while I’m reading,” said 10-year-old Zekeria Mekonnen.

While these fourth graders let their legs do the work on the stationary bikes, the books they were holding took their minds to far away places.

“You’re riding but you’re also reading and it’s training your muscles and your brain,” said Ava Walker.

“We’re really looking to be creative with how we get kids moving,” said Mike Humphreys, Instructional Specialist for Health, Physical Education and Family Life Education for Alexandria City Public Schools.

Ferdinand calls the program Of Pedals and Pages. Students take 15 to 20-minute reading breaks on a bike.

“The idea is to use the powerful benefits of exercise to affect the academic performance of students,” said PE Teacher April Rodgers.

While this program is only in place at a few Alexandria City public schools the plan is to expand it to every elementary school in the system over the next two years. Federal and local funding covers the cost of the bikes which provide a way to get kids moving and improve learning.

“They are more focused, they’re more engaged, and exercise makes them feel good,” said Rodgers.

“It helps my hamstrings on my legs and muscles in my legs and my whole body and it also helps my brain,” said Mekonnen.

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