Merkley visits Ardenwald, promotes heart health

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley visited Ardenwald Elementary last month to talk about healthy lifestyles and watch students take part in an annual American Heart Association education program.

And while the senator didn’t pick up a jump rope himself, he told students he has been known to do some occasional rollerblading.

Merkley was at the school in conjunction with the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart event. During the session, physical education classes learn to jump rope and go through a series of other stations. They also learn about heart health and good eating habits while raising money.

Merkley dropped in to talk to fourth and sixth grade classes at the Milwaukie school and gave students a few pointers on healthy living.

“If you don’t treat your body right, you set yourself up for a lifetime of challenges,” he said, before explaining how he purchased a pair of rollerblades for his 40th birthday, despite his wife’s objections.

During the discussion, Merkley asked students what they did after school, and got predictable responses: playing video games, watching TV, and so on. He said that with a new generation that’s more accustomed to spending time inside, it’s more important that ever to eat right and make an effort to be active.