Hillman school to incorporate new fitness program

HILLMAN — Hillman Elementary School is incorporating a new fitness program to get students moving and help them concentrate better.

Meg Romel, of School Success, recently started PoundFit, an exercise and focus program that helps get students moving.

“PoundFit helps the immune system, helps students on their movements so they can better concentrate and get rid of their frustrations,” Romel said. “Students like to pound and like to do the rhythm so it helps get them moving.”

Romel said a lot of time students will come down and they’re all over the place and can’t focus so she gets them moving and pounding with the music to help them focus.

“Although a lot of times, people use it for exercise and weight loss, PoundFit also helps with focusing, cardio training, uplifting your mood, and also building confidence and you’re having fun,” she said.

Romel has started the program by working one-on-one with the students. She is trying to get a group going. A signup sheet is going on right now where students can sign up if they are interested in the program.

“We will probably be taking one or two recesses and doing a group PoundFit,” Romel said. “When we do our celebration days for good and positive behavior, we have been doing PoundFit and the kids love it. We want to incorporate a class that they can do once a week.”

During the winter, a lot of times the students don’t want to go outside for recess, so doing PoundFit gives the students something to do inside.

Romel got the idea of starting PoundFit at the elementary school after attending a class in the summer. She got certified as a PoundFit instructor and her initial focus was to work with adults, but after working with it, she incorporated it a couple times with the students and said that the students love it.

“They have the sensation, they want to beat with the sticks, they want to do the coordination, and just have fun because it gives them an outlet for their frustration,” Romel said. “It’s also a sensory thing for students too because a lot of them need that motion and that vibration and it helps them. A lot of times students with sensory issues love music and rhythm because it’s soothing to them.”

Romel is currently working with five students individually and incorporating the program more and she has some interested in starting a PoundFit group. The school just started advertising PoundFit on Friday to students and parents.

“I expect to get more students involved,” Romel said. “I would like to have a group of about eight to 10 students to do a group because we have a room to use.”

Romel’s hope is to have enough students sign up so they can have a couple different age groups, like kindergarten through third grade and the second group being fourth- and fifth-graders.

The students don’t know that they are actually exercising when they are doing PoundFit, Romel said. Students are getting the benefits of exercise, movement, and music.

“It’s also great therapy for the mind, soul, and the body,” she said. “PoundFit gives people different options so they don’t get bored with it. We can do some floor (exercises) when they’re sitting on the floor moving their arms and legs. It’s not all standing, but it’s always a rhythm.”

PoundFit is good for cardio and helps the mind when the students are doing it.

“It’s kind of like a combination of pilates and cardio together,” Romel said.

Romel said some other benefits of doing PoundFit are that it helps fight depression, helps get the extra stimulation out to release, and helps build flexibility.

“There are some students who choose not to go outside and rather than sit inside reading a book or play on the iPad. I will incorporate some movements with them so that they get the benefits of going outside,” she said.

Romel found that music is very soothing for her students. She has some students that are autistic and the music soothes them and they have very good rhythm.

“They are able to connect and focus with it,” she said.

Parents have been very open to the school starting the PoundFit program.

“They say their kids come home and say that they like cardio drumming,” Romel said. “We want to get more parents aware of it and once we get the signup sheet going, I will send our permission slips and letters to parents.”

Romel said she is teaching students the basics right now and then would like to incorporate some other songs with them. If students have a favorite song, they can pick it out and Romel said she could work with them on choreographing it.

If anyone in Hillman is interested in more information regarding PoundFit, they can contact the Hillman Elementary office at 742-4537.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.