NJ phys. ed. teacher turns students and parents into fitness enthusiasts with early morning exercise class

February 25, 2012
by James Whall
Newark Star Ledger


Hal Abraham, a first-year phys. ed. teacher at Martin Luther King Elementary in Piscataway, slowly paced the gym floor in a black track jacket after leading a group of students, parents, and teachers through a set of squats.

“What should we do next?” Abraham asked in mock drill sergeant tone, arms folded across his chest. The kids weren’t buying the tough-guy act. “Burpeeees!” they excitedly replied in unison.

“Burpees,” of course, are not a bad case of indigestion but a delightful ballet of squats, jumps, and pushups. This kind of marked enthusiasm for embracing exercise through hard work is a developing trend at “Cardio Club,” a free class that Abraham runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 AM in the gym of MLK Elementary.

The class, which Abraham started at the beginning of January, is a response to the obesity epidemic that continues to plague both the state and the nation. According to a 2011 report by the Trust for America’s Health, New Jersey’s adult obesity rate is 24.1%. Fifteen years ago, it was 12.3%.



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