by Laura Kocum
on Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 at 4:28am.
Could pulling a sled help you with your fitness goals? What about an obstacle course? It’s no secret that our nation faces an obesity epidemic, and kids are included in the latest statistics. It’s with this in mind that Physicians Plus, Meriter and Madison Moms blog have joined forces. They created the Polar Dash- an annual event designed to encourage kids and their families to be active, even in the cold. On January 24, the 8th Annual Polar Dash will take place at the Meriter Monona Clinic (6408 Copps Avenue, Monona). Kids, ages 12 and under, are invited to participate in a race, where they pull a sled (or perhaps a wagon, if the snow is melted), carrying a plush polar bear. Outdoor hula hooping, an obstacle course and bean bag toss create additional ways to expend energy, and encourage fitness.
“Our goal is to not only give families an opportunity to be active that day, we’re hoping they use this as a jumping point to find creative ways to be active as a family year-round,” says Leah Huibregtse, Senior Communications Strategist at Meriter-Unity Point Health. “People often think they need to be at a gym or part of an organized sport to get exercise. Just playing and running around as a family can be just as healthy.”
In addition to the exercise, Meriter doctors will be on site to provide head-to-toe check-ups at the Teddy Bear Clinic. Kids can bring their favorite toy, and see what a doctor’s check-up is all about. The Polar Dash is free, and runs from 10 a.m. to Noon. Registration is available online or at the event.
Fitness opportunities don’t end here. Several Madison area gyms are offering classes specifically for kids to exercise. The Dane County YMCA and Madison School Community Recreation both offer programs for the entire family, and CrossFit Connex includes weekly classes designed to keep kids active and entertained. Winter weather is no excuse to be a couch potato…..get moving and enjoy all that Madison has to offer!