Franklin ISD Implements Zumba To Promote Fitness

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Being overweight and obese is an ever growing problem for folks right here in the Lone Star State. Texas is ranked 9th in obesity with over 30 percent of our population being considered obese.

To combat the risk of being overweight one local school is making sure kids stay active and have fun doing it.

When it's time for P.E. Class at Roland Reynolds Elementary in Franklin, you won't hear any students complaining about working up a little sweat.

"They're not going, uh, I'm tired, I don't want to do this, I want to sit down. They're never asking to sit down," said Heather Manuka.

Manuka is a dance instructor in Franklin and she's teaching a subject that the kids have really taken a liking too. Zumba.

"They're all smiling and they're all participating and that's something that is really great," said Manuka.

As soon as the music starts, so do the smiles. Turns out this Zumba is geared towards kids and helps keep them moving, shaking, and shedding the calories. But that's not the only benefits.

"It increases their focus, they get endorphins from the movement, and their memory skills get better," said Manuka.

"You get tired and stuff but you just want to do more of it," said 4th grader Jake Atomanczyk.

Atomanczyk is very clear when it comes to his favorite classes.

"Recess and zumba class," said Atomanczyk.

And when he talks about looking forward to zumba, he means it.

"You just get ready for it every week and you're ready to come down here," said Atomanczyk.

"It's something different than running, it's fun," said fellow 4th grader Allie Herring.

Herring also enjoys the moving and a shaking. She feels the difference and when class is over, she's ready for more.

"It's like I got my second wind, I kind of want to do more actually," said Herring.

"They're having fun so they don't realize how hard they're working," said Manuka.

The Zumba is so popular at Reynolds Elementary even the faculty is getting in on the exercises. Over half of the teachers participate in the program.

"I think it's good for our teachers to be physically fit but I don't think we do it quite the way that the instructor does it. But it's a lot of fun and it's a good bonding experience and good exercise too," said Reynolds Elementary principal Marie Gray.

"It's getting them in shape as well. They're setting an example for the kids so we encourage that to happen more," said Manuka.

"Sometimes it's just funny to watch them do it," said Atomanczyk.

And when it comes to burning the calories doing zumba, you've got to have your favorite moves.

"My favorite dance move is the mojo and it goes like this," said Atomanczyk while moving his arms frantically.

Looks like the mojo might be the next dance craze and hey, it does burn some calories.