Staying Fit when You’re Back in School 


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By:  Joella Baker


Staying active throughout the school year is tough for those kids who don’t participate in organized sports.  Summer is a great time to be out swimming, riding bikes and just being outside.  Once school starts and the cold weather rolls in, a lot of kids end up dormant and in front of the TV or computer.


This doesn’t need to be the case.  Your kids don’t have to be inactive because they don’t participate in organized sports.  The schools have great programs like the NFL’s Play 60 program and physical education classes keep getting better.  I’m always surprised when kids tell me they are running a mile in gym, learning yoga, or taking a spin class, for example.  Schools are now introducing youth to new sports they can do outside of an organized sport in their school.


But sometimes looking to the school for answers isn’t enough.  You need to go a little further to keep your kids active.   There are amazing programs locally at community centers and YMCA’s throughout the area; programs that are open to all kids.  These outside programs offer everything from basketball, soccer, lacrosse, running, swimming and even triathlon programs.   These programs are cost effective and are welcoming to all kids and any ability.  Your kids don’t have to be a top athlete to participate in sports at a YMCA or community center, they just have to be willing to try something new.


Most people don’t realize what programs are out there for their kids.   For example, I love the fact that local YMCA’s have swim programs that allow kids to be part of a team, but they don’t always have to race or compete.  For some kids, the thought of competition turns them off from participating in a sport.  There are plenty of opportunities for kids to learn a new sport or skill without having to be competitive.


Back to the reason for this article, why is it so important for you to enlist your kids in some type of program this fall and winter?  It’s simple!  Exercise and fitness will give your child more energy, boost their self esteem, teach them a new sport or skill, encourage good sportsmanship, give them a sense of accomplishment, allow them to make new friends and most of all; your child will have fun.


Please make sure you keep your kids moving.  Find out what type of exercise your kids may be interested in trying.  From ice skating, to skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, cycling, swimming, running, triathlon, weight lifting, indoor cycling, Karate, Zumba and yoga, there is a program out there for your child.  The key is to find a program they love and one that’s engaging to them.  In the long run, if your child doesn’t have fun, they won’t stick with it.  The number one reason why most kids quit a sport is because they are no longer having fun.


To visit the year-round programs from a local YMCA, simply go to that YMCA’s website or visit your local community center for local information on activities and sports.  If your child loves to ride a bike, swim or run, then check out my year-round programs for youth at  I have a Cross Country program, a Track & Field Program and a Youth Triathlon program.  All kids are welcome to join at any time.


The key to a healthy family is an active family.  Happy moving!