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Community News Nov 27th, 2012 - 21:34:41

New 4-H program teaches different aspects of fitness.

By Dave Whitaker
Nov 27, 2012, 21:09

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When one thinks of 4-H, horses, scientific models, and other outdoor activities often come to mind. A new program though adds another elment to what 4-H. Being fit.

Over the past five weeks, the Bleckley 4-H has been doing a new program called 4-H Fit. It's part of their curiculum. Each Tuesday, children meet at the office after school. Many ride the bus directly from school. They start with a healthy snack.

The activities each week vary. They've worked in the community garden. Last week, fifth grade teacher Linda Ursurey came and taught line dancing.

Tuesday, as staff member Anne Pettis said, they had to go to "Plan B" which was a trip to Lifequest Fitness Gym. They'd intended on running, but rain forced them indoors. Both Pettis and Brandi McGonagail run the program each week.

The "health" part is much more than just being physically fit. As Pettis explained, 4-H Fit teaches physical, emotional. mental, and spiritual fitness. She said they discussed things like eating right, either at home or with fast food, getting enough exercise, and sleep.

Though it was too wet to ride bikes outside, these indoor bikes made for good exercise.

Pettis says they don't use the word "diet" and said it was about "making healthier choices." She said each week they do something different and their goal was to make it "fun but educational." Pettis said the children had been introduced to many different foods, some they didn't even know existed.

McGonagail explained some of the details of the other types of fitness taught. Emoiontal fitness includes social fitness. Things like maintaining healthy relationships and being smart on social media outlets like Facebook. Mental fitness includes keeping your brain healthy and being able to handle stress.

Girls use the weight machines inside Lifequest Gym.

Spiritual fitness is simply believing in a power higher than yourself and having hope. Pettis said the turnout this year had been great and they hoped to do it again next year and would have more participants.

4-H fit is a free afterschool program. For more information on it or other 4-H activities, call the Bleckley County Extension Office at 478-934-3220.

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