Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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New Exercise Routine "Ropes" Students In

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CBGBs may be a thing of the past, but it's not keeping some New York City School kids from putting a little "Hey Ho, Let's Go" into their exercise routine. NY1 Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report.

What do you get when you combine a love for punk music, a gym room filled with a gaggle of fourth graders, and more than a few jump ropes? A little thing fitness instructor Tim Haft calls "Punk Rope".

“The idea was to take what I remembered was recess, which was a lot of games and running around and having fun, and pair it with music that's high energy and just let them move, run around, play games, do partner exercises and I think it really works,” said Punk Rope founder Tim Haft.

Haft's been teaching Punk Rope at gyms in the area for years. But seeing a growing need as the diabetes and obesity epidemics get bigger and bigger, especially among kids, Haft -- a New Yorker himself -- decided to bring his brand of fitness to New York City schools. That starts with getting students the tools they need.

So far, Haft has donated more than 450 of his own jump ropes to schools in need around they city.

“The teachers were telling me that they were using phone cords as jump ropes, old pieces of rope, and I just thought ÎWow, you know that's a shame,’” said Haft. “And we've got such an enormous school system, so many thousands and thousands of children and with the tools they need to run around and have fun.”

Haft loves what he's doing so much that his Punk Rope logo is tattooed to his arm. In addition to a ton of jump rope exercises, the kids get chances to be rockers too -- with interval exercises where they play the drums and electric air guitar, not realizing they're really doing a ton of fat-burning squats and lunges at the same time.

“Jumping isn't new to me but he taught me things I didn't know,” said Breann Newsome, a fourth grader at Public School 29 in the Bronx.

“It was really good,” said another P.S. 29 fourth grader, Elijah Wellington. “And the drumming and guitar thing, it was like we were doing some double-dutch or something like that.”

All of the kids in the Punk Rope class certainly got something out of this, and another cool thing, after trying the class they get rewarded with a tattoo just like Haft’s.

Their gym teacher, Susan Kaen, who got in on a bit of the jump roping and disposable tattooing action too, says the free equipment and the introduction to something new, gives her students variety they didn't have before.

“This is perfect. All the children are moving,” said Kaen. “They're active even when they took a break away from the ropes, they were actively doing something. This is what we need.”

To learn more about Punk Rope visit the website at www.punkrope.com.

-Kafi Drexel
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