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Why Fit Girls?
The Fit Girls fitness program addresses a variety of important issues in our culture today. According to the Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General’s Report on Children and Physical Activity, children today are less active than they ever have been. Childhood obesity more than tripled from 1975 to 2004, and it has become a public crisis. Inactive children are more likely to become inactive adults which may lead to health risks that include obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, gall bladder disease, joint pain and even some types of cancer (CDC)
Physical activity and exercise has both physical and emotional benefits. Girls who participate in physical activities have a higher self-image and increased confidence. Mary Piper, PhD, author of Reviving Ophelia says, “Girls in sports are often emotionally healthy. They see their bodies as function, not decorative. They have developed discipline in the pursuit of excellence. They have learned to win and lose, to cooperate, and to handle stress and pressure. They are in a peer group that defines itself by athletic ability rather than popularity, drug or alcohol use, wealth, or appearance.”
Multiple studies have also concluded that adults and children don’t read – at least not for pleasure. Less than half of the adult American population now reads literature (Literature as defined as novels, short stories, plays and/or poetry). The 21st century has become an age of high-tech distractions, and young people spend an average of 6.5 hours a day absorbed in TV, videos, and computer play as compared to the recreational reading average of 43 minutes (Kaiser Family Foundation study). Is this a problem? Yes, indeed!!
Fit Girls addresses ALL of these issues in an easy, affordable and FUN format!
What about the boys?
One good question that often comes up is "What about the boys?"
Fit Girls is specifically designed for pre-adolescent girls. The "all-girl" aspect is very important in our efforts to build confidence and self-esteem, as well as fostering healthy and supportive female relationships. Adult female coaches who are enthusiastic about fitness, reading and community outreach also serve as excellent role models for these young girls.
There are many studies that indicate that girls hold back in coed sports activities. In fact, the US Department of Education has provided new single-sex regulations that give communities more flexibility in offering additional choices to parents in the education of their children based on the studies that some children perform/learn better in a single-sex environment. As educators and parents, we have an obligation to our children. If a single-sex activity/class is the right fit for the child, it makes all the difference!
Michael Thompson, child psychologist and author of Raising Cain, states “I think it is important for boys to be in a male-only environment, and learn to make close friends with other boys and learn to manage the intensity of boy-to-boy competition. I also believe that every girl should spend time in a female-only environment, and come to understand the comforts and stresses of female companionship…If I were in charge of everything, I would ensure that every child had both co-ed and single-sex educational experiences during their childhoods.”
If a school/organization has purchased the rights to use the Fit Girls curriculum program and materials, we encourage and give permission for these groups to adjust and adapt the program as they see fit for a parallel boys running club. In most cases, the coaches of a parallel boys running club have chosen to just use the stretching exercises and the 5k training schedule. It should NOT be the responsibility of a Fit Girl coach to organize a boys running club.
Is running/walking the 5k distance safe for the girls?
"A recent statement from the Committee on Sports Medicine of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that if your children enjoy running and have no undesirable symptoms, there is no reason why they shouldn’t train for and compete in running events.
The committee noted that there are risks connected with training and racing including overuse injuries and a delay in a girl's first period. In addition, children have a less efficient temperature control system than adults. They may be more likely to experience heat or cold related problems, and take longer to acclimatize in hot and humid climates.
With these exceptions, it is not known that children are more likely than adults to experience problems arising from running. Running is a natural activity, the commit-tee concluded, which fosters healthy physical and psychological growth.
There was a growth in the number of fun runs for children last year. If there’s one coming up in your area, maybe your kids would enjoy the experience. You might just help kindle a flame that will grow.
(Pediatrics, Vol. 86, No. 5, pp. 799-800)
According to most of the recent research, the recommendation is that pre-adolescent children keep their longest distances to 2-3 miles (no more than 5 days a week), so the Fit Girls program and training fits within these guidelines. They also stress that running should be non-competitive at this stage with a focus on FUN and FEELING good. We always remind girls to "listen to their bodies" and take regular walking and water breaks. While some girls are naturally more competitive than others, we want ALL the girls to see themselves as WINNERS regardless of pace!
Click here for our Running Safety Tips for Fit Girls