Gooding’s Guide to Fitness — Get kids movin’ this summer

by Angie Gooding

For the Globe/Times

The sun is shining, the weather is improving and school is almost out for the summer. Now is the perfect time to create your family fitness plan. But first, some staggering statistics to motivate you:

According to the Washington State Healthy Youth Health Survey (2008), 9.8 percent of Snohomish County 10th graders are obese, and 13 percent of 10th graders are overweight. Almost 7 percent of 10th graders never eat meals with their families, and 15.6 percent rarely eat meals with family members. When asked how many days out of seven they had participated in 30 minutes of moderate exercise (walking, cycling, etc.), 20.3 percent recorded zero days out of seven.

It’s time to change these statistics, Snohomish County. To make these changes for the sake of our children and their health, I encourage fun activities, family fitness and positive affirmations.

Families need to engage in activities together. Make it a priority to eat together as a family and then plan an after dinner walk, play catch in the backyard or take a bike trip along the Centennial Trail. Build a garden together, plan a walk on the beach and bring a healthy picnic with you. Do at least one family activity per week and supplement your need for additional exercise time with independent fitness activities.

As a certified personal trainer, I have some exercise guidelines for children and pre-teens. Exercise for these age groups should be fun and rewarding. For children and pre-teens, activities such as football, tennis, soccer, and basketball are great for cardiovascular fitness. As for muscle-strengthening exercise for young children, I’d encourage climbing trees or playing on playground equipment. Pre-teens may want to experiment with weight training, but make sure they have guidance about proper form and technique from a trainer. Children should be discouraged from power lifting and excessive exercise and expectations should to be reasonable. As for teens, allow them to have choices when it comes to exercise, and reward them for effort and for achieving small and consistent goals.

It is up to us to help our Snohomish County children become more healthy and fit. For those searching for guidelines for fitness, the following summer classes and community activities offer children of all ages a more active lifestyle.

Encourage your teen to join you in taking a class through Marysville Parks and Recreation. I’ll be teaching a “Fitness for Mother and Daughter” class on Tuesdays (6-7 p.m.) from June 30-July 28. For more information call the Marysville Parks and Recreation Office at 360-363-8400 or visit

Participate in some of the Healthy Community programs available like the free swim nights at the YMCA or “Walking Wednesdays” at the MPHS track.

Join Marysville’s Healthy Community’s Challenge Day on Saturday, June 6 between 1-7 p.m. at Allen Creek Elementary School. Come for some exercise, fitness and nutrition information, and more. I’ll be there, so please feel free to stop and say hi.

Encourage your child or teen to participate in the “Get Movin’” program. “Get Movin’” is a summer incentive program to encourage kids to be active at least five days a week. For more information visit

There are a wealth of opportunities to play with your family this summer, so I encourage you to build connections with your children and your teens, while improving family fitness. As always, if you have questions or comments, please e-mail me. I enjoy hearing from my readers. Happy summer.

Angie Gooding is an educator and a personal trainer certified through ACE (American Council on Exercise) and owner of Inspire Fitness & Training. She lives locally, and trains clients in a private location in Marysville. She can be reached at or

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