Smyrna, Christiana Middle Schools Launch Cycling Studios


Smyrna Middle and Christiana Middle schools recently opened cycling studios, giving students additional opportunities for physical activity during the day.

Thanks to grants from the Richard Siegel Foundation, each school received 21 Sunny indoor cycles and floor mats, along with a speaker system, said Jenna Stitzel, the district’s Coordinated School Health director.

Stitzel credited Barbara Powers, RCS middle school coordinator, with pitching the idea.

“We put out feelers to see what schools were interested in piloting the new class. That’s how we found Smyrna and Christiana,” Stitzel said, adding that the cost was about $4,000 per studio.

Having the studios gives helps students learn a lifelong skill, Stitzel said. Under state law, middle school students are required to have at least 90 minutes of physical activity every week.

Additionally, state educational standards for physical education for grades 6-8 include calculating resting and target heart rates, creating a fitness plan, identifying muscle groups and activities to help strengthen them.

Smyrna Middle Principal Dr. Takisha Ferguson said students are enjoying the new offering.

“The students are learning about healthy habits and lifestyles while cycling. Many are fostering their competitive nature in seeking to accomplish better (revolutions per minute) than their teachers,” Ferguson said.

At Christiana Middle, students who may not like some games played in physical education class prefer the studio, Principal Dr. Kyle Nix said, adding that teachers are making use of the new equipment.

“Our main reason for piloting this program is because we wanted to give our students the opportunity to try something completely new that they may have never been exposed to in school before,” Nix said. “Sometimes we think exercise isn’t for us until we find the exercise that fits us best.  We are seeing this with our kids.”

Stitzel hopes to expand the program to the district’s other middle schools.

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