Guest blog by Shelley Romer, the elementary school program coordinator for Healthy Futures.
It’s been an exciting first half of the 2014/15
school year for Healthy
Our program had a record number of students from
173 Alaska schools participate in the Fall 2014 Healthy Futures Challenge —
nearly 18,500 kids, in fact. The Spring Healthy Futures Challenge starts this
Sunday, Feb. 1. We already have 188 schools signed up with an open invitation for more.
As the new Elementary School Program
Coordinator for Healthy Futures, I have been pleased to see how hard-working
and enthusiastic everyone has been in raising the bar to develop the habit of
daily physical activity. So many people have contributed to getting Alaska
children physically active by keeping track of activity logs, entering data
into the Healthy Futures database, and distributing prizes. It’s a lot of work,
but we have teachers, community members, and parents who go above and beyond what
it takes to help get kids excited about being active and healthy.
It helps to have amazing Alaska athletes cheering
kids on. We kicked off this school year by supporting the Anchorage School
District’s elementary school Jamborees. Our Healthy Heroes — Olympians Kikkan Randall and Holly Brooks, the APU Nordic Ski
Team, the UAA Cross Country Running Team, and many other local athletes — made the
events even more special by providing some truly inspiring and motivating
energy. It was amazing to stand in front of a group of kids who had just warmed
up with our Healthy Heroes and were ready to get the race started. Then… they
Determination and gumption flew by as kids ran toward
the finish line. Regardless of whether they finished first or last, thousands
of kids were giving it everything they had while being cheered on by the crowd and
our local athletes.
Here at Healthy
Futures, we definitely practice what we teach. I enjoy rock climbing, hiking,
running, skiing of all kinds, playing outside with my nieces and nephews, and
just getting outside to walk and clear my head or catch up with friends and
family. My coworkers are amazing mountain runners, triathletes, skiers, and
people who just like to get out and move. We know the importance of integrating
activity into our daily lives, but we also know how fun it is, the benefits of
challenging ourselves, how much better we feel when we move, and how great it
is to be a part of a community.
We know that research shows
a link between the lack of activity and health-related problems like obesity
and diabetes. With so many things pointing to more sedentary lifestyles, it can
seem a little daunting to address these issues, but kids are meant to move and
they love to move. It is up to us to provide and support an environment that
promotes what they do naturally.
join us and support your children and your students as they participate in the Spring
Healthy Futures Challenge and get out and play, every day.