Kids Running Across Helena

IMG_0816Getting kids excited about exercise is usually pretty easy. Most kids love to get outdoors to run, exercise, and compete. As adults, it’s our responsibility to give kids as many resources and excuses to exercise as we possible can. Unfortunately, that’s proving to be an increasingly difficult task. With decreased physical education and more sedentary distractions than ever before, it’s becoming harder to give kids the “kick” they need to get moving.

That’s why a team of organizations in Helena, MT hosted a free, one-mile race for children of all ages.  The idea was simple; if enough kids pledged to run, the Helena community would find the resources to make it happen. As it turned out, more than 500 children signed up. It was game on!

IMG_0799Kids got a t-shirt, a warm up Zumba lesson, and then they were off! The competition was fierce, but regardless, everyone had a good time. While the race was the main attraction, there was also a Family Fun Fest immediately after the race. Families could watch their kids run, then enjoy health and wellness games, free admission to Exploration Works (a children’s science museum), and free carousel rides. The day was all about giving kids an excuse to have some fun, trying some new healthy activities, and get active.

PacificSource would like to thank St. Peter’s Wellness for serving as the driving force behind the event. We’d also like to thank the other partners that came together to make it happen. The YMCA, the Great Northern Town Center, Exploration Works, Downtown Helena, Great Northern Carousel, and Capital City Health Club were all incredibly generous with their time and resources to make this event a success. Working with so many like-minded organizations was inspiring, and the kids in Helena certainly benefited from the team work.

Here are some pictures to paint a full picture of the day:

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A First Timer’s Top 5 Things About Zumba

Zumba-dances-in-as-exercise-trend-LIH3PBR-x-largeWhen it comes to exercise, you have to find what best suits you. As most of us know, it takes some experimenting to find your niche. If you’ve ever thought Zumba might be up your alley, give this a read. One of our employees, Sue, gave Zumba a try and documented her “booty shaking” experience. Check it out here:

The first time I saw a Zumba class in action at my gym, I was intrigued. It looked different—everyone looked like they were having a fun time. And I noticed that there were all ages and all body types (and even men) in the class. I decided to give it a try. Woo, boy! Let me tell you, Zumba is not your grandma’s workout—unless she likes to shake her booty to a world vibe and hip hop club music beat. Yeah, that’s me. I’m all over it.

My first Zumba class was a challenge. In other words, it kicked my behind. The hour went fast—it was fun, not exercise drudgery. I was too busy concentrating on the moves, laughing, woohooing, and having a blast to look at the clock.

Zumba is tons of fun, but it’s a fantastic workout, too. Read an article and watch a video about a fitness study done by the American Council on Exercise (ACE): “Zumba Fitness: Sure It’s Fun But Is it Effective?

After my first few classes, here are my top five favorite things about Zumba:

  1. It’s easy to adapt the moves and workout to your needs and level of fitness. Whether you’re a 20-something or a 50-something (or older), in shape or out of shape, Zumba is for you.
  2. It’s relaxing. About five minutes into the class, I stopped thinking about everything else (work, dishes in the sink, everything). It’s like aerobic meditation.
  3. Inhibitions are optional. Where else in public can you dance while you sing “I’m sexy and I know it”?
  4. The attire. I wear one of those jingly coin, belly dance belts to enhance my booty-shaking experience. (I workout harder, because I want to hear the coins jingle.) I recommend wearing the belt.
  5. It stays interesting and challenging. I really push myself, because it’s so fun. The instructors vary the music and moves, so I never have a chance to get bored, and I get a great whole-body workout every time.

A Community Rec Center in Action: Willamalane Does It Right


Kids got moving during a “Zumba for Kids” class

Rock climbing, roller derby, zumba, basketball, ping pong, yoga, and puppy obedience training, all one building? It sounds crazy, but this is just another night at Willamalane Park District in Springfield, OR.

This week, Willamalane opened their doors and hosted the Live Fit Expo. The event served as an open house, and it gave people a chance to come in and see just how much they have to offer. As we walked around the building, we were blown away by how much activity was all happening under one roof. Kids and adults were playing basketball, volleyball, and ping pong, a roller derby team was practicing smashing into each other, the fitness center was buzzing, kids were dangling from a rock wall, and Zumba classes were booming. When I asked the folks who worked in the center if this was an unusually busy night, their reply was, “Nope, this is pretty standard.” Awesome.

Rec centers like Willamalane are havens for community wellness. You can find all sorts of ways to get active, and thanks to the variety of fitness options, you’ll never have to worry about getting bored. If you’re looking for a place to get fit, or involved in your community, check out your local park and rec center. Their goal is to offer resources to make a happier, healthier community, and it’s up to us to utilize those resources.

Kudos to our pals at Willamalane, and special thanks to Springfield Schools for inviting us to the Live Fit Expo, we had a blast! Check out a few snap shots from the event.