Motivating kids to part ways with their phones, tablets, TVs and computers in favor of exercise isn’t always easy.
But a successful program through Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is doing that in a big way.
We take you to one of their events in tonight’s Get Fit, Get Healthy.
The weather was a little cold and a little wet, but that didn’t stop all these students from hitting the track in Hart for the Spitler Elementary Walk-a-Thon.
"It makes me feel active, and makes me more energized, so when I get home I’m not like ‘sugar rush!’ and everything like that. It’s always fun to go with my friends," says Faith Vanderlucht.
Third grader Faith Vanderlucht says working on her social life helps her stay motivated to keep moving, here and at school.
She’s one of 1,500 students involved in a 100 Mile Challenge.
"I got 114 miles, that’s why I’m here,” says Faith.
"During the 100 Mile Challenge, they’re given, every 10 miles, they get a prize for something, like a t-shirt or water bottle, until they get to 100 miles, and then at 100 miles their name goes into a drawing for a free bicycle," says Leona Ashley.
Leona is the community health educator for Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital.
This event, The 100 Mile Challenge and many others, are part of , spread over nine districts and involving nearly 3,000 kids.
"With so many chronic diseases and illness in our society, we need to have something for our kids. I’m the mother of four children, and I notice with my own kids in this day and age they all want to sit around an play on their iPads, the Kindles and DS’s and play games, and that’s not OK," says Leona.
So far, these kids are getting that message.
"If you don’t stay fit and just play video games, all that it’s bad for you and it’s not very healthy," says second grader Elon Michael Babbin.
Sixth grader Abigail Ashley says, “It’s important, because you don’t want to have problems when you’re older. You don’t want to have diabetes and stuff like with the sugar thing."
Second grader Jack Slotman adds, "When you’re healthy, you won’t get sick and stuff like that. You feel better, and stuff."
And this event went even farther, bringing students together with the heroes in the community and honoring them with plenty of patriotism.
"We have invited local heroes from our community, firefighters, police officers, nurses, doctors, military, veterans, current and past," says Jeff Schaner, co-president of Spitler PTO.
"We’ve got people in their doctors and nurses uniforms, and I think that, for myself, one of the biggest things and the reason I put on my uniform is because I think it’s important for them to know that girls can be heroes too," says Leona.
A hero in the military, and for this army of kids who are learning lessons they need to live a long, healthy life, and maybe inspire some others along the way.
The fit club finale this year is June 5, when they will draw names of qualified students to win bikes to keep those kids moving all summer long.