People are becoming more aware of the negative effects that sitting for extended periods of time has on their health, and as a result the anti-sitting movement has been making its way into offices around the country. But in a profession such as bus driving, how does one tackle this health hazard?

For bus drivers at the Lebanon School District in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, the answer is working out together twice a week.

Wanda Hastings, transportation coordinator at Lebanon School District, started a community exercise program for her drivers to help counteract the amount of time the drivers are sitting and improve their overall health.

Another reason for creating the program stemmed from a concern that the drivers may not be able to help students in case of an emergency.

“Some of the drivers were having trouble getting in and out of the buses,” said Hastings. “I exercise a lot myself and I go to the CCBA recreation center and asked if we could get a program started for the drivers.”

Twelve out of the 16 drivers attend the hour-long synergy classes in the CCBA’s Witherell Recreation Center. CCBA Fitness Director Larry Ruffing leads each workout with a variety of exercise drills ranging from squats to weight resistance training. Ruffing also has incorporated nutritional education in the program.

The voluntary fitness program is approaching its one-year anniversary in February, and the drivers have seen a significant improvement in their own health. “They are doing a great job and are feeling stronger overall,” said Hastings.

Other benefits are also coming from the program, Hastings added.

“It’s teamwork. When they are there they all are working together as a team, as they do when they are out driving a bus. It’s nice to see them all rooting each other on.”