Carmel firefighters teach fitness to kids to reduce future medical calls

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By Heather Collins

The Carmel Fire Dept. wants to help teach Carmel’s youngest citizens the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to cut back on medical runs. Firefighters are hoping to launch fitness boot camps at all Carmel Clay Schools elementary campuses.

CFD Lt. Steve Edwards helps get students moving at Cherry Tree Elementary during a Fuel Up to Fire Up bootcamp. (Photo by Heather Collins)

Public information officer Lt. Michael McNeely said 63 percent of CFD’s runs are responses to medical emergencies.

For the second straight year, firefighters lead three fitness bootcamps, called Fuel Up to the Fire Up, for all students at Cherry Tree Elementary. Program coordinator Lt. Steve Edwards helped come up with the program, which incorporates moves like swat the fly, squats, ski jumper and the Whip/Nae Nae.

CFD public information officer Tim Griffin helps lead the classes.

“If you can get kids to think of fun and fitness as the same, then they’ll learn to love fitness and it will help them with a lifetime of fitness and well,” Griffin said.

Griffin said if CFD can help combat obesity and health problems when Carmel residents are young, they can help prevent those runs as the population ages.

“For us, it’s the same way we get in the schools (with)  fire prevention,” Griffin said. “This is health prevention.”

Firefighters are putting together fitness videos that can be used as “brain breaks” or in gym classes.

As a fitness trainer, Griffin said he associated fun and fitness at a young age, and with the demands of being a firefighter, he said fitness goes hand-in-hand.

“We want to help instill that passion into kids,” Griffin said.

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