Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Senior Annelise Jacobs starts the day off stretching as part of this school year’s morning workout.

Blue Mountain Academy Students Rise for Exercise

 Story by Tamyra Horst

As the sun begins to rise, so do the students at Blue Mountain Academy (BMA)—for a 6:30 a.m. exercise class. Principal Burney Culpepper runs them through a vigorous morning workout.

When the school year began, some groaned about having to get up so early. Midway through the year, the exercise time was cancelled during FOCUS week to give students early morning quiet time. Surprisingly, students weren’t happy; they had discovered the benefits of starting their day with exercise.

“The exercise program has allowed me to feel refreshed during the day,” shares BMA junior Hannah Johnson. “I feel great, and my grades and level of attentiveness have increased.”

Teachers agree. Students are more alert and engaged—especially in morning classes. Teachers have also noticed a larger number of students eating breakfast than in years past.

Culpepper measures benchmarks, such as faster times in a mile run, increases in the number of push-ups and sit-ups and improvements in resting heart rates and flexibility. “Our benchmarks all show distinct improvement since the beginning of the year,” he states. “But we’re also seeing an improvement in grades.”

Culpepper continues, “BMA cares about all aspects of our students’ health: spiritual, mental, social and physical.”

Here are tips from Culpepper to help with your exercise routine:

1.  Go to bed early if you’re working out in the morning.

2.  If you are working out in the evening, don't sit down and relax when you get home from work. Prioritize working out.

3.  Start slowly and build to more. Don't try to get in perfect shape overnight. Many people over do it the first day or two and are so sore and exhausted they give up.

4.  Be disciplined and don't give up!

5. Pick an affective exercise for you individually and have fun!


BMA Class of 88’. I heard about this little experiment that was being done, and am happy to hear that many of the results have been positive. Many have critical about this approach to education, but the pen of inspiration has shed light on these practices that the principal has decided to institute in the school. May God continue to bless his efforts to elevate the mind, standards, and characters of BMA students. Just a few quick references: Health Reformer, September 1, 1868. . HL 176.6
Testimonies for the Church 2:529. . HL 177.1

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