Family Fun | Give kids a running start on fitness this fall

August 31, 2013 

Confession: My family and I have developed some bad habits over the summer.

I am willing to bet that we are not alone.

With the change of routine — or, more accurately, the lack of routine — it is easy to get off track when it comes to healthy eating and regular exercise. So as the school year begins, I am making a new school year’s resolution to get back into healthy habits — and to get my family doing the same.

Fortunately, we have a lot of fun opportunities in Happy Valley for both parents and children to get in shape while having fun, and influencing each other in positive ways.

•  A new and exciting event coming to the area is The Color Run 5K. Billed as “The Happiest 5K On The Planet,” this run will take place on Sept. 29 on the Penn State campus. It is not a timed event; rather, the goal is to finish looking like you just spent the day on a human Spin Art machine. Participants are doused with safe, non-toxic colored powder at every kilometer.

This is really a great incentive to get children — and adults — interested in running! Registration is $40 for individuals and $35 for teams of four or more. The Color Run is a national organization and has held 5K events in many big cities across the country. It is a very popular event, so register before it fills up! Visit thecolorrun.com for more information.

•  If your child has caught the running bug, Centre Region Parks and Recreation offers several programs this fall, including their Healthy Kids Running Series for kids from Pre-K through grade 8.

Children will participate in races from the 50-yeard dash to a 1-mile run once a week for five weeks. This is free to participate in and begins Sept. 22.

Children 14 and under can also participate in the Youth Cross Country Series on several Saturdays in September and October. This program focuses on longer distance running; kids will run anywhere from 2K to 4K races, depending on their age. This is also free to participate in and begins Sept. 14.

Visit crpr.org for information on both of these programs.

•  Girls on the Run of Happy Valley is a program designed for girls from ages 8 to 13, and combines training for a 5K with self-esteem enhancing workouts.

The next session will take place in the spring, so check gotrhappyvalley.com for current information.

•  Running isn’t for everyone, so fortunately there are many other options for children to exercise and work on their overall fitness.

Ki’netik Fitness on Commercial Boulevard offers youth fitness classes in four-week sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Sept. 10. These classes are fun and different each time, and are designed to help athletic kids get even stronger, while helping non-athletic kids learn to enjoy exercising. Find out more at www.kinetik-fitness.com.

•  Victory Sports & Fitness on Rolling Ridge Drive also offers a youth program, called “Winners.” This program is held three days a week and is intended to help kids ages 7 to 12 develop healthy habits through a fun exercise program.

Visit the fitness center’s website at victorysportsperformance.com for more information.

•  Fitology on Westerly Parkway held a pilot program with the YMCA of Bellefonte this summer and, according to Renea Nichols, they hope to have group fitness for children on their schedule in the near future.

Check fitology542.com for more information.

There are many other places for children to work out in the area, including local YMCAs, martial arts studios, and other health clubs.

Try them out until you find something that is a good fit for your family; when you find the kind of workout that you love, you will inspire each other to be fit and healthy.

Karen Walker is managing partner of www.4KidsinPA.com. She lives in State College with her husband and two sons. She can be reached at Karen@4KidsinPA.com.

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