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Pumped up

Grant gives Cain kids ‘cool’ workout
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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Physical education isn't what it used to be at E.V. Cain Middle School. Sure, students are still running laps and giving a variety of team sports a try, but, thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Motherlode Foundation, video games and gym equipment ” sometimes melded together ” are working their way into the workout by way of a new, kid-friendly fitness room. I think it's really cool because not a lot of middle schools get to have something like this, Rachel Roskelley, an E.V. Cain eighth-grader, said Tuesday. It's something that makes our school cool, because not everybody has a weight room. Therese Stack, PE and health teacher, said the new weight room is a dream come true. It's not, ˜Oh, we have PE, we have to run the mile,' she said, watching eighth-graders testing weight machines and fitness equipment. Just seeing the smiles on their faces makes it all worthwhile. It changes their attitudes, it changes mine. E.V. Cain's fitness room feels and looks like a mix between a gym and an arcade, thanks to colorful equipment and newly installed game bikes. The stationary cycles connect to PlayStation II and equipped with controllers. In other words, you pedal to play Gran Turismo or any race-related game. I think the bike is the best because you're playing a video game but you're also getting a workout, Roskelley said. Eighth-grader Zak Liske likes the new fitness room, and the game bike in particular. It's a good opportunity for us to build strength and see how a real weight room is, he said. Stack coordinated with Gia Grim, owner of the Grass Valley-based KickStart Fitness for Kids, to get the most out of the Motherlode Foundation's grant money. Basically we worked with Therese to see what they wanted, Grim said. All equipment in the fitness room is created with kids in mind. It's fun because you don't see this kid-sized equipment anywhere. There's often too much weight on it. They're not built for kids, Grim said of typical gym equipment. These are safe for children, safe for kids' bodies, and appropriate for their strength and fitness needs. PE students aren't the only ones taking advantage of the new equipment. I have teachers that come in during their lunch and work out, and we have the athletic program using it after school, Stack said. Stack hopes students find fun in using equipment like the lateral ski trainer and a balance ball, which mimic the motions they might experience while skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding. It's equipment that's conducive to what they like to do, this they can relate to their favorite outdoor activities, she said. Watching the students exercising, it's obvious that they're enjoying PE, Stack said. They feel like they're in high school when they're here, she said. If they had their way, they'd want to be in here five days a week. The Journal's Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment