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LINCOLN -- Lincoln Middle School will receive one of three $100,000 fitness centers awarded to schools in Arkansas by the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils.

The Live Positively Fitness Center, which will open this fall, builds on efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle for students, said Stan Karber, assistant principal for the middle school.


Recipients of Live Positively Fitness Centers

• Lincoln Middle School in Lincoln

• S.C. Tucker Elementary School in Danville

• M.L. King Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock

Source: National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils

The Fitness Councils group has awarded centers to schools every year since 2012, said Jake Steinfeld, a personal fitness television personality from Los Angeles who is chairman of the organization. Four states are invited to participate each year, with Arkansas, Florida, Illinois and Texas chosen this year.

Steinfeld, who is founder and chief executive of Body by Jake, remembered the confidence he gained when he received his first set of weights as a teenager. He enjoys seeing the smiles on boys' and girls' faces when they finish their first set of repetitions on the exercise equipment.

"When you're healthy, you're in school," he said. "You're less sick. You're less fidgety, more focused. You do better on your tests."

The fitness centers will include weight-training equipment and cardiovascular exercise machines, such as stationary bicycles, Steinfeld said.

The other two recipients in Arkansas are M.L. King Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock and S.C. Tucker Elementary School in Danville.

Karber talks to students about the importance of moving and likes to challenge students randomly to do push-ups and squats during the school day, he said. He sometimes takes groups of students outside for a quick workout with repetitions of lunges, squats and push-ups.

Karber tells students the exercises will help them feel calmer in classes and strengthen their muscles. Teachers sometimes join them, he said.

"Now we've been given a grant for all this exercise equipment," Karber said. "These kids will surprise us with how they take to this."

The new center will be open for community use, Karber said.

Jennifer Huffmaster thinks the community needs a fitness center and that it will teach students more about living healthy and exercising, she said. She grew up in Lincoln and is the Lincoln Middle School librarian.

"It's a long drive to go to a gym," Huffmaster said. "To have it in our back door is going to be amazing."

The national foundation receives sponsorships from companies, such as The Coca-Cola Company, to pay for the Live Positively Fitness Centers, Steinfeld said. The fitness centers are named after Coca-Cola's philanthropy campaign.

The other sponsors are the American College of Sports Medicine, Anthem Foundation, Nike and TuffStuff Fitness and Equipment.

Steinfeld was asked in 2006 by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to be chairman of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to promote increased physical activity in children. In 2011, Steinfeld worked through public and private partnerships to create the national foundation to recognize schools showing initiative and innovation in health and nutrition, he said.

Installers will begin working on the new centers this month, but they will be kept a surprise until a grand opening that likely will take place in October, Steinfeld said.

NW News on 08/05/2015

Print Headline: Lincoln Middle wins fitness center

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