Gym teacher keeps students active with daily fitness challenges

(NEW YORK) — BY: TOMMY BROOKSBANK, ABC News

As soon as Melinda Ligeikis heard her school district suspended in-person instruction, she began thinking of ways to keep her students active at home.

“A lot of kids are active but only when they could go out into the community,” Ligeikis said. “Our parks are closed, basketball rims have been removed from local playgrounds so a lot of students were struggling.”

Ligeikis, a physical education teacher at Binghamton High School in Binghamton, New York, realized she could keep students engaged and healthy by posting daily workout videos of herself on Twitter.

Daily Challenge for 4/17 focuses on the upper body! Different push-up variations FTW💪🏼 #BPatriotProud #TakeCareofYourself pic.twitter.com/hNJOFA7dwq

— Mrs. Ligeikis P.E. (@PatriotsPE) April 17, 2020

“I thought it would be important for my students to see me doing the workouts to show them I’m staying active with little to no equipment, and it can be done by anyone, anywhere,” Ligeikis explained.

The gym teacher brands her short workout videos as daily challenges, splitting up exercises into three main muscle groups for teens to focus on. It can be as simple as minute-long wall sits to more elaborate moves done with objects found around the house.

Ligeikis changes her set up regularly and never repeats an exercise, hoping to keep each upload fresh for students. She even made a beach theme for what would have been the school’s spring break, complete with Hawaiian leis and pink flamingos.

“Students have been really receptive and honest about what the best workouts are,” Ligeikis said. “It’s great because it shows they’re doing these at home which was the whole idea. Everything is behind the computer now with online classes so this is a way to give them a break from the screens.”

Ligeikis added the feedback she’s received from teens, parents and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive and plans to continue daily challenge Tweets when the high school reopens for in-person instruction.

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