Fitness activity’s goal is to get “Kids on Track”
Children can learn to build a foundation of fitness with an autumn walking, running and wellness program sponsored by UHS Stay Healthy Kids. "Kids on Track" is open to children ages five to 15. The eight-week program meets every Sunday from Sept. 8 through Oct. 27, from 2 to 3:15 p.m., at the Vestal Coal House. The fee is $10 per child, which includes a T-shirt.
Confluence Running store manager Matt Gawors opens each session with a 10-minute talk on a relevant topic, such as wellness, safety, proper footwear or hydration. Then, members of the Binghamton University Running Club guide participants in small groups. Some events are grouped by age, others by distance.
Last year, the program had 120 participants total, with an average of 70 attending each week. Parents are invited to stay and watch, participate, or walk or run behind the group. Said UHS Stay Healthy Kids coordinator Megan Farmer, RN, BSN: “Last year, many parents brought smaller children, other family members and dogs, and walked along with us.”
Studies show that walking and running are good for children and teenagers. They have fun, improve their concentration and feel calmer. They gain a sense of control over their walking environment, become observant of what they encounter on their journey and have some time to themselves to think. Simultaneously, they get good exercise.
No previous running experience is required. This beginner-level program is designed to help children learn proper techniques and pacing. At the end of each session, kids enjoy smoothies and snacks, and receive a mile-marker charm to note their progress. Prizes are awarded for cumulative milestone markers (five, 10, 15 and 20 miles), with a grand prize for all participants who reach the marathon level of 26.2 miles over the course of the program. Prizes are awarded to relay race winners as well.
Ms. Farmer noted: "UHS Stay Healthy Kids is excited to continue its collaboration with Confluence Running, Binghamton University and the Vestal Coal House. We have so much fun watching families exercise together with their friends. It's nice to see the happiness and positivity that comes from families exercising together.”
Participants from last year’s program had positive feedback on the experience, including gratitude for helping kids start exercising and learning to enjoy it, learning about running, and the encouragement received from staff members. “Staff were helpful and friendly with my children. The staff members were fun to be around, and made it fun for the kids,” said one parent.
To register, go to KidsOnRightTrack.Eventbrite.com. Call 221-3727 with additional questions.
UHS is a locally owned, not-for-profit hospital and healthcare system serving Greater Binghamton and surrounding counties. Founded in 1981, UHS provides a full range of medical, surgical, rehabilitative and long-term care services throughout New York’s Southern Tier.
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