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Way to go, Prairie Point School runners! : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Way to go, Prairie Point School runners!

We were pleased to report on our weekly Oswego School District "Bulletin Board" page last week that some 60 students and staff members from Prairie Point Elementary School in Oswego participated in the Oswegoland Park District's recent Gobbler Hobbler 10K and Mash Potato Mile fun run at Fox Chase Elementary School.

In addition to the Prairie Point students and staff, we know that many other students from other Oswego School District schools took part in this popular annual community event.

Over the past several years the focus on physical education in many of our nation's schools has begun to shift from emphasizing participation in competitive team sports to teaching lifetime physical fitness. In August a state educational task force released a 148 page report that calls for new strategies in physical education instruction that would emphasize the importance of individual fitness. The report also cites research that links physical activity with significantly improved academic performance.

We believe this recommended shift in approach has been long overdue. While learning to compete with others as part of a team in a gym class is certainly beneficial, the truth of the matter is most young people will give up organized team sports-if they play them at all-long before they reach their 30s.

It's really common sense that young people should be taught ways to maintain physical fitness for life-especially since as a society we are growing increasingly sedentary. By encouraging their participation in fun events like the Gobble Hobbler and Mash Potato Mile, local teachers are introducing their students to a sport-running-that their students can benefit from and enjoy by themselves or with friends at a very modest cost for most of their lives. And running certainly isn't the only option. Other activities such as aerobics, speed walking, zumba, spinning and yoga can all be taught as being among the options to help young people achieve and then maintain their fitness into old age.

It's great to see more than 1,000 area residents participating in the park district's Gobbler Hobbler and Mash Potato Mile. We're also looking forward to seeing many more youthful runners and their teachers passing us by in next year's "Hobbler" and the many other local races held throughout the year in the Oswego-Montgomery area.

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