Children First: Staying fit in a unique way - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Staying fit in a unique way

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Being active and fit is important at any age to stay healthy.

Exercise is critical to fighting obesity and it's important to work out in a way that's fun, and safe for the body, as well as the mind.

Kids in KOTA Territory are hooked.

"It's fun!, yells Andrew Garcia.

It took 10 - year old Andrew Garcia 2 years to master the unicycle. Now he's riding like a pro.

"You need to keep your balance but at the same time you need to ride at a fast enough pace so you don't fall over," says Garcia.

Garcia learned the techniques by taking classes at Rapid City's YMCA. Classes are offered three days a week, for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders.

"We do have adults that will come. It's for anybody 5 ½ to 105 ½. My grandma is in her 80's and she's attempted to ride it a couple of times before. So if you can walk, you can try it," says Shawn Hayford, YMCA Outreach Director.

Hayford has been riding the unicycle since he was 11. He says it's a great way to stay fit.

"It's a super fun way of exercising; there are a lot of kids that are attracted to it that aren't necessarily doing soccer or basketball at school so this is maybe their sport that they do," says Hayford.

And with any sport, the health benefits are endless. Hayford says you have to balance with your legs and abs so that strengthens core muscles and improves motor coordination. Hayford also says learning to ride the unicycle strengthens the mind.

"This is one activity they have to focus their physical motion to telling their mind what they need it to do. And it just gets their brains to make that connection. And we've seen a lot of times where that carries over into school and behavior at home," says Hayford.

While anyone can learn to ride a unicycle after taking lessons, Garcia says your first time trying to ride can be scary.

"Honestly, the dangers, you could fall down or break something maybe," says Garcia.

But he has some good advice for first time riders.

"If you think about giving up, don't give up!", says Garcia.

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