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Huntington YMCA encourages families to get active

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — As part of a nationwide effort to encourage kids to get moving, the Huntington YMCA will host YMCA Healthy Kids Day, the nation’s largest health day for kids and families.

YMCA Healthy Kids Day is filled with fun, engaging and creative activities that foster healthy living, and is a part of the YMCA’s larger efforts to help more kids and families become physically active.

All activities are free and open to the public.

YMCA Healthy Kids Day at the HUNTINGTON YMCA will provide resources to help educate grown-ups about making healthy choices for their families every day.

There will be activities such as snacks, games and inflatables.

“Keeping kids healthy is at the core of what the Huntington High YMCA stands for,” said Sabrina Conley, Healthy & Wellness Director, Huntington YMCA. “The word ‘exercise’ doesn’t sound very enjoyable to many people, especially kids, but getting them to move more through play that requires physical activity is the key to building healthy habits that last a lifetime.

On YMCA Healthy Kids Day, both kids and grown-ups will have the opportunity to get moving, to play and to have fun.”

Experts recommend that kids engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity, including active play, each day.

Studies show that kids who consistently engage in play are happier and healthier, and develop and enhance a variety of skills including motor skills, social skills, problem solving, and creativity.

Kids who get 60 minutes of physical play also tend to have higher self-esteem and perform better academically.

To make more time for physical activity, the Huntington YMCA offers simple ways to put more play in kids’ day, and to get the family moving more, too!

1. Make physical activity a regular part of family playtime — the more active kids are the more likely they are to continue being physically active later in life.

2. Allow kids to have unstructured playtime. All play is not created equal — kids need different types of play, including indoor and outdoor, active and inactive.

3. Reintroduce your child to the basics of active play: play hopscotch or basketball, jump rope, or enjoy games such as Red Light, Green Light and Simon Says.

4. Limit screen time and use of electronic media to allow more time for play.

“The goal of encouraging kids to play more is to build a lifetime of love for physical activity,” said Sabrina Conley. “Play should not seem like a chore – it is an activity that is fun and brings joy, and allows a kid to just be a kid.”

In addition, the Huntington YMCA is proud to host representatives from WIC, Cabell Huntington Health Dept, Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Let’s Get Moving Program, Moore Chiropractic, Alcon Optical, AMACHI, Conrad’s Fruit and many more who will be providing information.

YMCA Healthy Kids Day is also supported nationally by Northwestern Mutual Foundation and Tropicana.

More than 700,000 kids and families are expected to participate in YMCA Healthy Kids Day events at nearly 1,500 YMCAs nationwide. For more information about YMCA Healthy Kids Day, call the Wendy Terry at 304.697.7113 or visit www.huntingtonymca.org.