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Twin Cities in Motion Activities Help Make Fitness Fun

By Yolanda Womack, Personal Instructor, YWCA of Minneapolis
October 3, 2013
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For the last five years, children and youth at the YWCA have participated in the Twin Cities in Motion (TCM) family events, and I have been asked to assist in the training since its inception. I have worked with the Beacons, Girls Inc., Hmong International Academy (HIA) and Strong Fast Fit groups, helping to prepare them for the One-Mile and 5K training. Every year, I am grateful to be asked to return as a coach. I utterly love working with youth, because of the inspiring determination and persistence that begins to unfold from the first day! I can always count on them to give me 100% effort. On race day, that determination, persistence and effort are multiplied ten-fold, while still having fun!

Physical fitness can have a positive impact on all areas of our life. Teaching kids the importance of exercise and how to enjoy being active at a young age will increase the likelihood of a lifetime of health for them and their families. All of the kids that I’ve worked with are motivated to exercise for various reasons. Jasmine said she participates in the TCM program because it “helps her to stay alive,” and Joshua said that he “runs for his health.” In addition to the physical benefits, the social interactions and connections we make, the program also helps increase overall health. Rebeka talked about making new friends, and Darwin likes that the group is diverse, and that he “learns more about working with others.”

Charlie and Arei, two youth in YWCA programs, were curious to know how and where I stay active. I live in North Minneapolis and enjoy walking and running along Theodore Wirth Parkway and Victory Memorial Drive. I enjoy sports like basketball and rugby, and know that running ensures that my health and sports performance are enhanced because my heart is strong.

Along with other YWCA coaches and trainers, we offer the kids advice on health and fitness, and I am happy to know how well they listen. Kids like Jaqueline, Frank, Jose and Maria understand how important it is to breathe in through the nose and out the mouth while exercising. Alexandra, Christian, Jasmine and Selena enjoy activities such as basketball, soccer and football. They understand that learning to run the 5K can help their favorite activities become more enjoyable, because they are more fit.

Working with YWCA youth who participate in the TCM program has been inspirational. I enjoy seeing them and their parents in the community, specifically the grocery store. In the past, when I have run into a TCM family at the store, the youth are excited to show me the healthy food choices in their baskets. And they are also quick to point out something that’s not so healthy in mine! With all of the work done with the Beacons, Girls Inc., HIA and Strong Fast Fit programs, it is clear that the kids have a good understanding of health and fitness and how to apply it to their lives. The kids are fun, respectful, determined and joyous to be around. I encourage more adults to get involved in their children’s fitness.

Support the YWCA’s inspiring work empowering girls and boys to get active and participate in running events on TCM weekend and throughout the year.