Put on your running shoes ... join the fun
With temperatures cooling down and the sweltering heat of 2012 finally beginning to subside, many people are feeling an insistent urge to get outside and run, and the perfect place to go and join others with the same idea is at the city of Yuma Parks and Recreation 2012-2013 series of 5K/10K runs and fun walks. For some of us, particularly those with young families, we have to worry about what to do with our children. Should we take our kids with us?
The answer without hesitation is “Yes!” The city of Yuma Parks and Recreation Department, with grant support from the Foundation of Yuma Regional Medical Center, is proud to announce a running program just for the youth of the Yuma community. Fast Feet is a new exciting opportunity for students from kindergarten through eighth grades who would like to participate in the series of 5K/10K runs and fun walks.
Debbie Wendt, city of Yuma recreation superintendent says, “We are elated about this collaboration between the Foundation of YRMC and the city of Yuma; our missions are almost the same. We provide programs that help children be healthier and happier, through increased activity and by educating parents on the importance of beginning a life-long fitness program, at a young age.
“Anytime kids participate in a program, a spirit of youthfulness and fun accompanies them and smiles fill the area.”
With each scheduled run and fun walk this season, the Fast Feet program is free to the first 100 children in kindergarten through eighth grades. Parents wishing to take advantage of the free offer, must pre-register at the Parks and Recreation Department during the pre-registration period to qualify for the Fast Feet program, and can only register for one fun run/walk at a time. “The runs and fun walks are a great way to introduce children to the joy of running at a young age and develop healthy habits that will stick with them for life,” says Wendt.
Why run? Running, jogging and walking are some of the most basic forms of exercise, and can be performed at any age of a person's life. People run for many different reasons, but most fall into the following categories:
Running for health benefits: According to the American Heart Institute, studies have shown the health benefits of running to be tremendous, reducing your chances of everything from the common cold to cancer. Running is among the best aerobic exercises for physical conditioning of your heart and lungs. It helps ensure the efficient flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, things that are proven to help to decrease the risk of a heart attack.
Running, like other types of exercise, is a great stress reliever and may even relieve mild depression. Many runners enjoy reaching the “runner's high” that euphoric, clear and calm state a runner feels after a long run. Research shows that healthy adults who exercise regularly are generally happier than those who don't. As a runner, you'll likely feel more energetic and creative.
Running for weight loss: Weight loss is one of the biggest reasons why people start running. As one of the most vigorous exercises out there, running is an extremely efficient way to burn calories and drop pounds. Because running also builds muscle mass, your resting metabolism will increase, which means that you'll burn more calories at rest. If you combine running with a healthy diet, you'll definitely notice a difference in the way you look and feel.
Running for social benefits: Many people run because they like to socialize and be part of a running community. Running clubs and charity training groups give people the opportunity to meet and train with other people. Some runners participate in local events or travel to race destinations with their running buddies.
The Foundation of Yuma Regional Medical Center specifically wanted to empower children to get out and start exercising and identified the city of Yuma Parks and Recreation series of 5K/10K runs and fun walks as the perfect venue to promote fitness and healthy lifestyles.
Adults, interested in this year's series of runs and fun walks? Do we have a “screaming deal” for you. If you register for all six of the upcoming 5K/10K runs and fun walks, you'll receive the special price of $40. That's 27 percent off the regular pre-registration price and 59 percent off the on-site registration price. This special is being offered until 1 p.m. Oct. 4. Register now at the city of Yuma Parks and Recreation Department or online at www.yumaaz.gov/parksandrec. Registration can also be made over the phone at 373-5243.
The Yuma 2012-2013 series of runs and fun walks starts at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5 with the very popular Moonlight Run, which will start and finish at the West Wetlands Park. Runs and fun walks are scheduled every month through March:
Moonlight Run — Oct. 5 — West Wetlands Park
Turkey Trot — Nov. 17 — Gateway Park
Reindeer Round-up — Dec. 15 — West Wetlands Park
New Year's Resolution — Jan. 5 — West Wetlands Park
Great Yuma Road Race — Feb. 9 — Start: 15th Street and 4th Avenue. Finish: Gateway Park
March-On City Finals — March 19 — West Wetlands Park
No matter how old you are or what kind of shape you happen to be in, the 2012-2013 series of runs and fun walks is a great way to start a new exercise program or supplement your current physical fitness program. Put on your running shoes, grab a water bottle, bring the kids and join the fun.
Oscar Chavez is the recreation program supervisor at the city of Yuma Parks and Rec Department. He can be reached at Oscar.Chavez@yumaaz.gov.