Locust Valley “Fitness Fridays” Teach Fitness for Life

Physical education at Locust Valley Middle School and High School is more than just learning the rules of volleyball, badminton, and other team sports. The program incorporates teaching students how to stay fit for life and how to have fun doing it. Fitness Fridays are one of the ways that the physical education teachers promote a variety of fun activities that not only keep youngsters in shape, but can be continued throughout their lifetimes to help them remain fit.

During Fitness Fridays, which are scattered throughout the school year, an assortment of activities are set up in the gymnasium and arranged in stations. Moving in groups, students visit each of the stations, trying out hula hoops, balancing equipment, stationary bikes, mazes, and more. Fast-paced music plays in the background, motivating participants to get their heart rates up, and encouraging them to dance – another healthy physical activity.

“We are trying to instill the values of lifelong health and wellness in all of our students,” explained Mark Dantuono, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics. “We have the opportunity to introduce these values in physical education classes and we provide students with the necessary tools to take their fitness activities beyond that 40-minute period.”

The Locust Valley High School fitness rooms are open to all middle and high school students daily. Without the need to pay for a gym membership, kids can use weight machines, aerobic equipment, and more. Many of the activities, such as running and jumping jacks, can even be done at home.

Mr. Dantuono said that introducing young people to a variety of activities creates the likelihood that they will gravitate towards something and stick with it. The program also shows them how easily physical fitness can be incorporated into their lives with simple acts. “We stress the importance of performing fitness-based activities throughout the year, and throughout their lives, not just in school.” He added that the program would not be possible without the support of the physical education teachers.