Valley View Leads the Nation in “Exercise US” Program

Valley View Physical Education Teacher Len Saunders created “Exercise US” thirteen years ago to help raise awareness of the importance of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Valley View Elementary School fifth-grade students arrived early on Thursday September 30, 2021. The 48 students were there to lead the nation in the 13th Annual “Exercise US” program.

A coast to coast initiative, “Exercise US” was created by Valley View Physical Education Teacher Len Saunders.

Students in Valley View, and other schools along the East Coast of the United States of America, kicked-off the continuous wave of exercise at 8:00 a.m. In fifteen-minute intervals, schools across the nation followed suit, each exercising simultaneously until the next group of students began their exercise routine. Students exercised ten hours throughout the course of the day, from 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time to 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Participation occurred in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and some US territories.

During the program’s 10-hours of participation, continuous physical movement, shared by thousands of students, in hundreds of schools, broke across the nation’s time zones like a wave of exercise.

Developed to help raise awareness of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, “Exercise US” encourages students to make exercise and healthy eating habits a priority.

“The key to exercise is to try to make it fun,” Saunders said. “When these kids complete their fifteen-minutes of exercising, other kids in other schools will be beginning their fifteen minute slots.”

Valley View’s two fifth grade classes exercised one after the other before the official start of the school day. Eva Sharma and Julian van de Graaf led the first group, followed immediately by the second group, which was led by Brian Holzmann and Tyler Szetela.

During “Exercise US” students both share the simultaneous experience of exercising with others, while encouraging others throughout the country to join in.

To participate, schools and organizations sign-up for at least one of the 40 fifteen-minute slots that comprise the 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (EST) initiative.

An award-winning fitness author, Saunders is also the creator of “Project A.C.E.S.” (All Children Exercise Simultaneously). Known as the World’s Largest Exercise Class, the 34th Annual Project A.C.E.S. program will be held on May 4, 2022.

Valley View Elementary School is located in Montville Township, NJ, and is one of five elementary schools in the Montville Township Public Schools district. The district is also home to Robert R. Lazar Middle School and Montville Township High School. The district’s motto is: “Educate. Inspire. Empower.”

The next “Exercise US” is already scheduled for September 29, 2022. Those who would like to register or find out more should visit Participation in “Exercise US” is free, all that is required is a commitment to exercise for at least one fifteen-minute slot.

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