The start of a new year has become synonymous with fitness related goal setting, and while I love to make goals and strive for improvement, I try to steer clear of weight-specific goals, as to remind myself that my ultimate goal is longevity, strength, and more energy, not a number on a scale or certain size.
For children, it’s important for us to share why we set goals related to activity, and encourage them to make healthy habits a priority, too. If you’re hoping to get your children moving more, whether it’s finishing a race, or just spending less time on screens, here are some ways to incorporate movement into your family’s lifestyle in a low-stakes and fun environment.
Girls on the Run
Serving Richmond and its surrounding areas, Girls on the Run focuses on using physical activity to teach girls skills related to emotional, mental, and physical well being. Girls on the Run programs are often run at elementary and middle schools. Contact your school’s nurse or administrators to see if the program exists at your child’s school. If not, programs can be started by volunteers both in schools and in neighborhoods. GoTR typically runs for 8-12 weeks and culminates with a 5K, where every finisher is celebrated.
Support Girls on the Run by donating to VPFW’s Sports Bra and Running Shoe Collection through February 16, 2024.
Kids on First Foundation
Created with a mission to make baseball accessible to every child, Kids on First Foundation will provide free equipment to your child, so they can start their baseball journey. Using the sport as a vessel to mentor and encourage minority players, life skills like honesty, humility, and hard work are taught. Events range from Catching Clinics to Little League Teams and After School Baseball and Literacy Programs.
Live Red Foundation
With a goal to transform lives through fitness, Live Red Foundation runs events for both youth and adults. Family-focused events in 2024 include Earth Day 5K and Kid’s Mile, Innsbrook Mile, and the RVA Splash and Dash, which is designed to be a safe and fun introduction to multi-sports events. For ongoing programming, contact Live Red to bring a free program to your neighborhood. Their programs focus on empowering youth ages 5-18 while instilling life skills like setting goals, resiliency, and positive risk-taking.
If there were ever an organization to inspire us to be active, it’s Sports Backers. If you have an older child capable of running or walking 6.2 miles, register for the Monument Avenue 10K together. To prepare, join the YMCA 10K Training Team, where you’ll be able to follow a training plan and have a group to train with weekly. For kids ages 4-12, the Atlantic Union 10K Mini offers them a shorter race (1 mile) with lots of perks (a medal, shirt, lots of encouragement during their run). Further, Sports Backers’ Kids on the Move Program aims to educate children about healthy habits and build confidence through kid-friendly events.
Trail Kids RVA
A parent-powered non-profit, Trail Kids RVA is a completely free program with a mission to get children and caregivers outside. Understanding that hiking with children comes with its own challenges, hike leaders are patient and judgment-free. Hikes are held at parks all over Richmond from Petersburg to Henrico, to join a hike follow Trail Kids RVA on social media, and register using the Heylo app.
Thanks to these local organizations, the opportunities for children to get active are plentiful. Whether your child wants to learn to throw a baseball or take a walk in the woods, now is the time to inspire those lifelong healthy habits.
Lastly, If your school has a casual running club for kids, look into joining it. If not, you might want to see what it takes to get one established.