Fun and Fitness

A new after-school program is designed for fun and fitness.

Loretta Sander of the Kroehler Family YMCA started a one-hour workout session for Hill middle schoolers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“They definitely need more activity and it helps with their self-esteem and when you have positive self-esteem, it goes a long way for everything,” said Sander.

Each session starts with a cardio warm up, followed by kinesthetics, and then various games that keep them moving.

Using a Zamzee pedometer, the kids can track how many steps they’ve taken throughout the workout.

“I like this program because it keeps me active instead of just sitting on the couch every day and doing nothing,” said Brianna Wong, a sixth grader at Hill.

“You’re just having fun really,” said Christopher Keifer, also a sixth grader at the school. “It’s not like you’re working out. It feels more like you’re just playing games.”

“These kids do spend a lot of time with electronics and they spend a lot of time on homework too so this is an opportunity to not be so sedentary,” said Judy Conley, a parent.

The middle-schoolers can also wear the pedometers throughout the normal school day or at home to continually measure their steps. As they burn calories, they’re also rewarded with points. After plugging the pedometers into their computers, participants can log onto the Zamzee website to create an avatar, track their progress, and exchange their points for gift cards or use them to donate to a charity like Make-A-Wish Foundation or the American Heart Association.

“I think it’s a great concept and it’ll push them a little bit more,” said Hill Middle School Parent, Donna Silva.

The program is $40 a child for a two-month session. While it’s piloted only at Hill, Sander hopes to expand the program to other schools in the fall. Another long-term goal of hers is to make the program more affordable for low-income families and open it up to special needs students as well.

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