The simple structures dotting the grounds of Ignacio Intermediate School are much more than new playground equipment.
The 20 stations made of wooden beams and metal bars are part of the Fit-Trail the school installed this summer to encourage physical activity within the community and help students fight obesity.
Obesity rates among kindergarteners through sixth-graders in Ignacios schools are about 35 percent, according to the district. Statewide, 14 percent of children in this age group are obese, the Colorado Health Foundation and the Colorado Health Institute report.
With the fitness trail, the district predicted its obesity rates could decrease by as much as 10 percent over three years.
Each station along the trail has equipment with instructions about a specific exercise. Participants can walk or jog between stations. The combination of exercises aims to provide a physical fitness routine for the whole body.
Before the fitness trail, the school didnt have much in the way of playground equipment and the community also needed more convenient access to recreational equipment, said Principal Kathy Pokorney. The trail fulfilled both needs.
The trail is a fun way to promote exercise for the whole community, Pokorney said.
The $50,000 cost for the equipment was funded through a grant from the nonprofit Colorado Health Foundation. The organization partners with other nonprofits, businesses, health-care leaders, policymakers and educators to help make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.
Since school started, physical education teacher Oscar Cosio has made the fitness trail part of his classes each week.
The activities add a bit of variety to the classes, he said. Exercises such as balance-beam work, activities on parallel bars and reverse pull-ups arent part of circuit training he would normally do with the students.
What matters for me is creating different ways for them to approach fitness, and the fitness trail is one part of that, he said.
Last week, students in Cosios class used structures to do leg-ups, reverse pull-ups and jumping exercises. The students said the trail was a fun alternative to other fitness activities they do in class. And during recess, everyone goes over there, said Michael Guire, a sixth-grader.
The district also is considering making the fitness trail a component of a staff wellness program, said Superintendent Rocco Fuschetto.
It will be great for the school district and the community, he said.