Local YMCA has day of health

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2005

When Tyree Sterling and his sister Tiara headed to the Suffolk YMCA on Saturday afternoon, they were ready for fun. When the two left about an hour later, they were just a little bit healthier and smarter.

The two Nansemond-Suffolk Academy students had been part of a group of roughly 100 to take part in the facility’s Healthy Kids Day, an annual nationwide event to spread awareness of healthy eating and better living. It’s been done at the Suffolk facility for seven years.

After getting their nametags in the gym, the two did a drill of basic calisthenics, such as push-ups and sit-ups. Then they went to the Hot Hoops activity, hopping through a row of hula-hoops.

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&uot;That was sort of hard,&uot; said Tiara. &uot;I kept landing on the hoops and I almost fell.&uot;

Laying across a huge ball helped them stretch a bit better, and dribbling a basketball and soccer ball between cones aided in coordination and posture, as did the Balance Challenge, which involved leaning over, standing on one foot, and other acts.

&uot;I fell down every time,&uot; Tiara said.

After taking part in the Freeze dance, the two headed over to the next-door Wellness Center, where they learned about nutrition. They were taught about the healthy eating pyramid, which talks about how much of each food group people should eat every day.

They checked out several food labels, finding out how much sugar and calories are in certain foods. A Cherry Pop Tart, for example, holds 200 calories, and a can of Coke contains enough sugar to fill a test-tube-sized holder.

They completed all the drills, and went back to the gym to get their prize – a goodie bag filled with toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, several healthy snacks and other items.

&uot;I felt like I could do just about everything here,&uot; Tyree said afterward. &uot;I’ll be back next year.&uot;