In a time when obesity, diabetes and inactivity — among our children — dominate today’s health news headlines, it is refreshing to see an event, and an organization, geared toward reversing lifestyles that will get our youngsters off the couch, unglued from the TV screen and away from their rapidly clicking computer keyboards.
For those unfamiliar with the event, make your plans — and your commitment — today because Healthy Kids Day will be held Saturday.
It gets under way at 9 a.m. and will continue through 1 p.m.
First, this quick bottom line — it’s free!
Now for the details.
Scheduled for the Cleveland Family YMCA on Urbane Road, Healthy Kids Day is open to all children ages 6 to 12. Parents, you are asked to have your children at the Y by 8 a.m. for registration.
The main event of the day revolves around the Youth TRYathlon, a dedication to exercise in which young competitors will compete in a 1-mile run, a 1.5-mile bicycle ride and a 100-yard swim in the pool.
Two important reminders.
First, children participating will be required to furnish their own bicycle and helmet.
Second, the goal is not necessarily to finish the event but to participate; hence, its name, TRYathlon. The key is getting on one’s feet and trying. The whole concept is to introduce area children to physical exercise in hopes that it will instill a new interest, one whose yield will be stronger hearts and bodies and a renewed appreciation for physical exertion.
All children who compete in the TRYathlon will have their names entered in a drawing to win a new TREK 3700 series mountain bike donated by Scott’s Bikes.
The TRYathlon is merely one part of the special day.
A Cleveland Healthy Lifestyles Resource Fair will run in conjunction with the Kids Day festivities. The fair will offer a variety of informational booths sponsored by area agencies, services and businesses — all of whom specialize in some type of health whether it is mental, spiritual, physical or even financial.
Health is health and it embodies many facets of a person’s life.
Also on tap for the day will be the Behavioral Research Institute’s fourth annual Day in the Park.
Another opportunity for those attending will be free fitness classes sponsored by the Y. These too are free and open to the public. Classes will include muscle conditioning, 8 a.m.; aerobic cross training and a studio cycle class, 9 a.m.; Zumbatonic, 10 a.m.; and Pilates, 11 a.m.
And still more.
Healthy Kids Day will feature games, children’s fitness-based activities, inflatable fun centers, a climbing wall and free T-shirts for the first 250 kids.
And yes — food! Free snacks will be provided by BI-LO and Chick-fil-A.
Healthy Kids Day is already a proven winner in the Cleveland and Bradley County community. Last year, the YMCA event hosted more than 10,000 visitors and the Health Fair boasted 50 booths.
The Y is expecting this year’s event to be even bigger, more diversified and just as popular among our community’s youngsters and their parents.
Saturday’s weather is expected to be another plus for this child- and family-friendly spectacular.
Parents are urged not to pass up this unique opportunity.
It isn’t about building muscle in a few hours.
It is about building a healthy lifestyle in one day.