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Program for youth seeks to make exercise enjoyable

Sunday, June 27, 2004

(Photo)
Exercise can be fun with the "Dance, Dance Revolution" video game.
SIKESTON - Can exercise really be fun? The staff at Missouri Delta Medical Center's ReStart think so.

"I think a lot of times kids have a negative view of working out," said Heather Vogler, athletic trainer for ReStart. "Maybe it's the word 'work.'"

But with diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure in addition to obesity and overweight issues being seen at increasingly younger ages, the staff at ReStart are concerned "about the lack of exercise and their health," said Kylie Wibbenmeyer, wellness coordinator for ReStart.

As part of ReStart's ongoing effort to "get everyone active," ReStart is kicking off "Active Kids/Healthy Teens" Monday.

This new program is specifically targeted for the non-athletic, video gamers and couch potatoes, Vogler said, especially those who are "struggling with being overweight."

For children ages 8-14 "who maybe have trouble exercising on their own," according Wibbenmeyer, the first four-week session will take place at 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Regal Health Club.

Participants will spend about 20 minutes each at three stations.

The highlight has to be the "Dance Dance Revolution" station. "It's a video game you play with your feet," said Vogler.

"Just like other 'addicting' video games, this also gets addicting," Wibbenmeyer said. "And they end up shedding pounds without even knowing it."

Treadmills and stationary exercise bikes are at the second station. "We start them out at a level that's appropriate for them," Wibbenmeyer said. "It's very individualized."

The third station is a circuit with jumping rope, a mini-trampoline, ladder training, and the physio or "Swiss" ball. "That's the big exercise ball," Vogler said.

At the end of every exercise day they plan to "end with something fun - some sort of game like tag or something," Vogler said. "We really want to have fun with this program."

Vogler said they will see how this first session goes before scheduling any additional courses or a "maintenance program," but intend to have some sort of follow up program available "so it's not just over after four weeks."

Children who may have avoided exercise due to asthma, diabetes or other health problems, "shouldn't feel like they can't do it," Vogel said. "We're going to have professionals here."

Wibbenmeyer said this program is perfect for these children "because exercise is one of the best ways to remedy these problems."

"They need to get these problems under control," Vogler agreed.

The program's organizers noted that similar programs completed on an individual basis at ReStart proved successful in the past.

They are planning for about 20 participants for this opening session, but if the class fills up "we'll work on putting together another class," said Wibbenmeyer.

The cost is $50. Wibbenmeyer said those with some medical conditions may be able to get a prescription from their physician. "Then we can bill it through insurance," she said. Scholarships may also be available.

For more information call Wibbenmeyer or Vogler at 472-7375.