As a result, Wakonda Elementary school kids aren't just sitting around school any more. They are walking to become healthy. The kids in grades K-6 are taking part in the nationwide Feelin' Good Mileage Club.
The Feelin' Good Mileage Club promotes walking as the most basic form of exercise. At least three times a week for six to 12 weeks, kids and teachers walk one mile to stay healthy. Walking conditions the heart and leg muscles. It also uses calories that control the bodies' weight.
It also motivates children to become fit, and gain a liking to walking as a lifetime way to stay fit.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, "Exercising the body increases student success academically." It gets oxygen to the brain and creates a state conducive to learning.
Why are the Wakonda elementary kids walking? The state is stressing the importance of physical activity in kids. Schools are also required to set up a wellness program.
"We are trying to get a start on it. Plus it is fun!" said Elementary Principal Kay Lueth.
The kids get awards for each five miles. The first five miles they get a toe token to place on his or her shoes. At 10 miles they receive a certificate that says they have completed 10 miles. They get to sign their name on a poster board when they reach 15 miles.
Karen Hansen, first grade teacher, says that the first-graders need to walk now. "It's part of their day."
Sixth grade has walked 84.8 miles as a class since they started on Sept. 4. Grades kindergarten through 6 have walked a total of 563 miles since they started mid-September. Hopefully, learning these healthy exercise habits now will remain with them for a lifetime.