Carrera McCurdy, 10, travels America and exercises, all from a seat in the Greensburg Aerobic Center.
The Maxwell Elementary School fourth-grader participates in the indoor Pedal and Pump Across America cycling classes offered for free to children 12 to 17 years in the center.
Children pedal to videos that show various spots in America.
“It’s really fun,” Carrera said. “When you’re at home in the summer, you don’t get exercise sitting at the computer.”
Too many children in America are obese, instructor Kim Svidron said. They get moving because of the cycling program, which started this month, she said.
“(The idea is) let’s bring them in, show them they can have fun … and watch a video and exercise without them thinking about it,” she said.
“They’re the future,” she added. “If we can get to them now, we can convince them about the fun of exercising.”
The videos show scenic areas in the United States and instruct the children on how fast they should be pedaling at a given moment.
“What we’re trying to do is disguise exercising,” Svidron said.
Some children a little younger than 12 can participate if they meet height and maturity requirements, Svidron said.
The center used a $10,000 grant from Highmark to purchase stationary cycles.
Before a child can take part, a parent or guardian must complete a health history of the participant, Svidron said. A physician’s release may be needed.
Svidron assesses the fitness of each child before they take part.
She further shows the children how to warm up and stretch properly, as well as the need for a proper cooling-down period.
Participants will receive a special card to enter the facility each time.
Parents or guardians are encouraged to join their children, Svidron said.
The video cycling programs operates on Mondays and Wednesdays, beginning at 4 and 5 p.m.
Shelly McCurdy said she likes that her daughter takes part in the program.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “It gets them out from in front of the computers.”
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or [email protected].