KUEC Fitness Summer Camps Provide Training from the Pros

Exercise science experts offer a healthy summer camp option, focusing on strength and balance.

Adult and kids doing yoga outside

KU Edwards Campus just wants to pump (clap) your kids up.

Kansas City-area kids looking to improve their fitness this summer should check out KUEC’s “Hawk Fitness Academy.” It’s an eight-week program — meeting twice a week — designed to help young people learn lifelong fitness habits by moving and getting in shape during their time away from school.

Today’s youngsters face rising rates of childhood obesity, said Ashley Herda, Ph.D., exercise science program director at KUEC. And research shows that kids are susceptible to becoming overweight during the summer months more so than during the school year. A summertime regimen of exercise can help offset that challenge.

"Kids need to be able to maximally activate their muscles,” Herda said. “And I think at this point they don't really know how to do that. It's going to help improve their lifelong outcomes eventually."

A typical session will include warm-ups of hops, skips, crawling and more, followed by exercises that include presses, squats, cone drills and box jumps.

“Most children's programs don't focus on strength and balance,” Herda said. “This one's focused on that, to help improve those lifelong outcomes.”

To make it fun, each exercise is brief, with children moving quickly from challenge to challenge in obstacle-course fashion.

“The goal is to improve strength, balance and cardiovascular health,” Herda said. “Their heart rate is elevated almost the entire hour.”

The additional benefit? “To learn that exercising is fun and it's easier to do than most people think it is,” she said.

And parents benefit, too.

Kids ages five to 12 years old are invited to participate. Sessions run 5:10-6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, starting May 25. The regular cost to participate is $405 per child; the David and Margaret Shirk Physical Education Programs Fund provides financial support for families and children to participate in the Hawk Fitness Academy at a reduced rate of $100 per child.

The academy will also be held at KU’s Lawrence campus. The camps are presented by the KU Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science.

For more information, email hawkfit@ku.edu or call 785-864-2224.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science.

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