Earlier this week, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation helped launch the Redskins FITT program, a health and wellness initiative for youth in the local community.
The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation teamed up with District of Columbia Public Schools and the American Diabetes Association to launch Redskins FITT [Frequency, Intensity, Time & Type], a youth health and wellness initiative designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle and assist 7th grade students in the development of a personalized two-week fitness plan.
The program includes three key elements:
The FITTbook **serves as the in-school curriculum piece for all DCPS 7th graders. Each participating student will receive a copy of the workbook which includes lessons on physical activity, nutrition, and cognitive development. Students will use the FITTbook as they develop their fitness goals.
FITT Videos are monthly instructional fitness videos that feature Redskins players and coaches and fitness celebrities. Each video will highlight key stretches or exercises that teachers and students can reference during in-class instructional time and at home.
FITTness Workshops features a visit from the Redskins FITTness Vehicle and activities focusing on physical activity, nutrition, and cognitive development. Each participating school will have the opportunity for two FITTness Workshops during the course of the 2016-2017 school year.
The program kicked off on Monday at Johnson Middle School in Washington, D.C. with the first FITTness Workshop, as Redskins linebacker Houston Bates and Katie and Jasmine of the First Ladies of Football led a strenuous workout session for the students inside the school’s gymnasium.
There were four activity stations set up inside the gym as students rotated through each to get the full experience of the new Redskins FITT program.
Bates was a great motivator for the kids, but he also broke a sweat during the workout. Bates was coming off a hard fought game against the Dallas Cowboys the day prior, but that wasn’t going to keep him from spending some quality time with some quality young people.
“It means the world to me,” Bates said. “We put in so much time in football, in game planning and going against the opponent, but we can give one day back to the community and that’s really important to me. We had the day off today, but (I belive) just give back any way you can, and this is a perfect way to do it, introduce our new FITT program [and] a new FITTbook. The kids are really liking it [and] they had a good time in there as did I. I was getting challenged by all the kids, but it was a good time, we had a good time.”
Bates said of the four stations, the agility station was the toughest one for him to navigate through, as it tested his stamina as he ran from hula hoop to hula hoop trying to set tennis balls inside of them.
“Day after a game, kind of sore a little bit, but the kids were really liking that one because they were beating me,” Bates said. “I had to keep going and taking the ‘Ls,’ but I’m going to get better at it for sure.”
Bates kept digging deep in his energy reservoir, and he pushed his way through the event. What also kept Bates going was the energy the kids gave off throughout the room.
“They bring the energy,” Bates said. “Any time you get to see a kid being active, you know playing sports and hanging out with their peers and having a good time and taking what we’re giving them. There’s a lot of resources for kids these days, getting outside, eating right, nutrition, parents, teachers, everybody just trying to influence, make the right decisions nutritionally and making good grades.”
“To see them bring the energy and have everybody out there being active and doing all this stuff, it really fires me up,” Bates said. “It’s definitely good to see the energy.”
Kathy Burk, the Area Executive Director of the American Diabetes Association, National Capital Area Chapter, had a front row seat for all of Monday’s activities and excitement.
For Burk to stand in the gym on Monday and see the kids exercising and having fun was the icing on the cake for her.
“We are thrilled to be part of this,” Burk said. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and D.C. Public Schools, because diabetes is an epidemic in the country and it’s also an epidemic with children. When we can educate children, the younger that we can get to them and give them the tools and resources and the things that they need to know what they can do to be healthy, live healthy, whether that’s fitness ideas, nutrition ideas, exercise, healthy lifestyle, healthy choices. The sooner we can get to children, the more impact we can have on the choices that they make for the rest of their lives.”
Burk mentioned the importance of families making the right choices as far as their eating habits are concerned. Burk says it’s important for families to have a proper balance of exercise and nutrition, because they’re a package deal.
“You can’t really have one without the other, so you can make great choices with fitness,” Burk said. “You also need to make great choices with what you’re eating and I think the FITT program addresses both of those issues with telling the children and helping to educate the children on what constitutes good nutrition and what a good plate looks like, a solid plate looks like, along with what you can do to exercise and to get fit and it doesn’t have to be ‘Oh, I have to go for a run’ or ‘Oh, I have to wake up and go for a walk today.’ It can be just playing outside with your friends [or] a pick-up basketball game. It can be taking a walk around the block with your mom after dinner. So it can be simple, it can be fun.”
To learn more about the Redskins FITT program, please visit http://www.redskins.com/community/redskins-fitt.html.