Dylan Bernstein is no stranger to the gym.
The 18-year-old Cherry Creek High School senior makes regular visits to the school's weight room and cardio machines. As a member of the school's baseball team, such routines are part of a daily regimen. They help to keep him fit and prepared for work in the classroom and on the field.
That's not to say the trips to the workout room are always convenient. Cherry Creek High School boasts a large campus, and the academic duties that come with senior year don't always allow a lot of spare time.
That's why the latest addition to the CCHS media center is so convenient for students like Bernstein. Thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, the school recently installed an exercise bike next to the plush reading chairs and wooden tables. Set up in front of one of the library's north windows, the bike offers an expansive view of Union Avenue, Cherry Creek State Park and the rest of the landscape surrounding the Cherry Creek School District's oldest high school.
"I'm in the library every fourth period," Bernstein said, adding that he took a spin on the exercise bike the first day it was in the library. "I like having this here."
Convenience was only one of the reasons the staff at the media center decided to add the piece of cardio equipment. CCHS Teacher Librarian Annie Campbell said the staff wanted to offer students a way to break the cycle of sitting and working, especially during high-stress academic crunch times like finals week.
"The more research I've done, the more I've heard that sitting is the new smoking," Campbell said, referring to the perils of an overly sedentary lifestyle. "Our kids shouldn't be sedentary. It's hard for anyone to sit for too long. Our library is a busy place – people are studying and learning – but they're sitting. I just thought that even 10 or 15 minutes of movement helps stimulate the brain and ease stress."
The bike went in at the beginning of December, and students and staff are still getting used to the addition. Campbell said the CCHS library community is warming up to the prospect of in-house exercise, but she's yet to see the kind of demand that would necessitate a sign-up sheet.
"Some kids have been like, 'Is that for us? Can we be on that?" Campbell said. "I think at first, they're a little embarrassed. If no one is using it, no one is using it, but if they see someone on the bike, they're more willing to try it."
That's a positive start, and Campbell sees promise in every student and staff member who decides to take a 15-minute cardio break. She's even considered the prospect of adding another cardio machine once the response ramps up.
"My intention is to get everybody moving a little bit more," Campbell said. "I want to thank the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation for making that possible."
The Cherry Creek Schools Foundation is dedicated to impacting all of our students, investing in innovation in the classroom and building long-term relationships in the community.