Standing in an exercise room surrounded by 12 rambunctious 7- to 10-year-old boys and girls can be somewhat daunting, but Abby Miller, certified trainer in Functional Health, and Cody Tweeten, a University of Wyoming kinesiology intern, act like it’s just another Thursday night in
These children are spending an hour with Abby and Cody to learn about healthy eating habits and exercises that will improve their athleticism.
The program, ICAN Excel, was developed because there was interest from children too young to participate in the hospital’s
Excel Athletic Performance Program, which focuses on agility, balance, coordination, power and speed. Abby, who has a bachelor's degree in nutrition, decided to incorporate nutritional elements from another after-school program,
Individuals Combining Activity and Nutrition (ICAN), with the Excel program, and adapt the programs for the younger age group.
After the participants run through their activities, which include pushups, bicep curls, planks, and sprinting drills, among others, they settle in for a 15-minute nutrition session. Tonight the focus was on carbohydrates.
“So, what do you think carbohydrates do for your body?” asks Abby. When she’s faced with blank stares, she says, “Let’s break down the word. The first part is car—what do you need to put in your car to make it go?”
“Oh! It’s fuel for your body,” shouts one confident boy. He proves to be right.
Abby continues her discussion on carbohydrates, covering what food groups this dietary element is found in and how to select the healthiest options for them to enjoy. The participants are given coloring sheets that highlight the food groups, and later participate in a scavenger hunt to find healthy carbohydrates to fuel their bodies.
This is the first year for the program and Abby feels it’s successful because the participants are enthusiastic to learn about exercising and being healthy athletes. “Parents have told me that their kids go home and practice what they have learned that day,” she says. “The fact that these kids are performingthese exercises at home and working on their nutrition habits away from the class makes me think we are being successful in establishing some healthy behaviors.”
And that’s the ultimate goal: building healthy and active habits for these children to share with their families and friends.
If you have a young athlete who may be interested in ICAN Excel, call 307.688.8102 to learn when the program will be offered again.
Follow CCMH on Facebook to see more photos taken from this night in the album ICAN Excel.