Studies show that today’s youngsters are a very inactive generation, and that inactivity and poor dietary habits have contributed to their lack of fitness. Statistics indicate that one in three kids is overweight or at risk of becoming overweight today, a percentage that has more than tripled in the last 30 years.
To help get kids off the couch and into better shape this summer, USA Gymnastics and Tyson Foods have joined forces to create a fitness initiative designed to encourage physical fitness through fun activities that emphasize four fundamentals of fitness: cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility and nutrition.
To underscore this initiative’s importance, USA Gymnastics has expanded its annual National Gymnastics Day from focusing just on gymnastics to “A Celebration of Fitness.” Gym clubs and their members across the country use National Gymnastics Day in August as a way to give back to their communities by raising funds for the Children’s Miracle Network. The Tyson Fitness Challenge is the main vehicle for raising funds. Participants may gather pledges for specified activities that range from the traditional cartwheels and backflips to fitness-related skills or elements.
Each of the four fitness fundamentals in the Tyson Fitness Challenge helps kids get physically fit through participation in fun activities geared toward their level and age.
• Cardiovascular conditioning, which is important for the heart and lungs
• Strength training, which builds strong, healthy muscles
• Flexibility exercises, which help muscles move through a normal range of motion
• Nutrition, because a well-balanced diet is an important key to any fitness effort. Protein, like that found in Tyson chicken, beef and pork products, is an important part of any well-balanced diet because it delivers the necessary nutrition for strength and endurance.
In addition to focusing on four fundamentals of fitness, each participant will learn how to set fitness goals (e.g., being able to do five more sit-ups, three more push-ups, etc.) that may be achieved through the Tyson Fitness Challenge and continued as a part of his/her weekly routine.
“The basics of gymnastics are a solid foundation for building fitness at any level,” said Bela Karolyi, the legendary gymnastics coach who is a longtime proponent of the importance of fitness. “I have always stressed that flexibility, strength and cardiovascular exercise are important components to being fit or a good athlete, along with eating a well-balanced diet. The Tyson Fitness Challenge is designed to help young people learn how to exercise properly and eat right.”