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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 4 years ago

Osceola Elementary kids jump for healthy hearts on V-Day

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The student body at Osceola Elementary celebrated Valentine's Day with more than just heart-shaped candy. 

BY EMILY BLACKWOOD | STAFF WRITER

Upbeat music blasted through the tennis courts at Osceola Elementary School as fourth-graders stayed active. No, this wasn't gym class. This student body opted to indulge in exercise rather than candy for Valentine's Day.

Partnering with the American Heart Association, the elementary school hosted its fourth-annual Jump Rope for Heart event this Friday. After raising money for the association for the past two weeks, the kids celebrated their healthy hearts by increasing their cardio. Physical education teacher Paula Belfer said this event, which took place during the students' special area time, offered a nice balance between all the holiday candy the kids would get later that day.

"In our curriculum, we talk about nutrition and staying away from all the sugary foods," Belfer said. "Of course, they're kids, so I've already seen the heart candy boxes. There will be parties today but at least they're burning the energy this morning."

Belfer said the students learn about starting heart health young with the three steps of cardio: increased heart rate, increased breathing and increased body temperature. After each three-minute exercise interval, the students grade themselves on cardio with a scale of 1-3. Students got their cardio from the event's four different heart healthy stations, including jump rope, jump the creek, hopscotch and jumping over a small hurdle.

Christian Smith, 10, was more than happy to jump for the American Heart Association.

"I just want to donate because I really like to help people in need," Smith said. "It's just really fun helping people and it gives you a good feeling."

So far the students have raised $505. Belfer said she is still receiving donations and hopes to reach their goal of $1,350.

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