CARROLLWOOD — When Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Gerald McCoy was in elementary school, he liked watching "Power Rangers" on television, playing video games and snacking on junk food.
“You know what?” he told a group of first- and second-graders at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS on Tuesday. “I didn't like being outside. It was too much exercise. It was too much running, and it was hot.”
But now exercise and healthy eating are part of his daily routine as a professional football player, he told the students. And no matter what careers the Corbett Prep children choose for their futures, a healthy lifestyle will benefit them, he said.
McCoy's talk at Corbett Prep was part of the “Good for You” unit the students are studying this fall. The lesson plan focuses on nutrition, exercise and well being. Students have learned how the foods they eat can affect how well their bodies function. They recorded their heart rates after exercising and talked about how exercise relates to food. They also have discussed moods and gratitude.
McCoy told the students how he used to be small when he was younger, and how eating nutritious foods and working out helped him develop muscles. Then he led the students in a pledge to try their best and exercise at least 60 minutes a day, part of the NFL's Play 60 initiative focused on increasing the wellness of young people. “Can you guys keep these promises?” he asked. The children cheered and lined up for high fives as they left the Corbett Prep Farish Center. One little boy paused to flex his muscles at McCoy as he walked back to class.
Courtney Cairns Pastor is communications coordinator at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS