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Jenny Simpson and Rising NYRR are keeping kids active in quarantine

Since launching the Active at Home program, the Rising New York Road Runners have helped thousands of kids exercise while in lockdown

If you’re a parent looking for a way to keep your kids active and busy while they’re stuck in quarantine, the Rising New York Road Runners (Rising NYRR) virtual exercise program, Active at Home, is something to look into. The program, which is free, is designed for kids in kindergarten through high school, and it promotes physical literacy and keeps children active while in lockdown. There are photos and descriptions for each exercise, so parents can help their kids perform them correctly, and there are also instructional videos from U.S. Olympic medallist and NYRR ambassador Jenny Simpson.

Rising NYRR

The Rising NYRR have been running physical literacy and physical education programs in public schools for over 20 years, and Simpson has been an ambassador for the last three. Simpson is a three-time world championship medallist (including gold in the 1,500m in 2011) and a three-time Olympian who won a bronze medal at the Rio Games.

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The goal of the Rising NYRR program is to teach kids of all ages how to lead healthy lives, and the organization puts on over 100 free events each year. Organizers are certainly eager to encourage running, but the main goal is to promote a general active and healthy lifestyle.

Simpson demonstrates lunges for an Active at Home video. Photo: Rising NYRR

Active at Home

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Active at Home launched on March 31, and since then, it’s reached over 17,000 households. The program’s core values are the same as before COVID-19, but the Rising NYRR team had to make some alterations to their normal program so it could work for kids at home.

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“We had to assume that kids have zero equipment and no one to do it with,” Simpson says. “We’re not doing this for one kid, we’re doing it for kids all around the world, so we needed to have something that resonates with kids everywhere.”

Activities are all pre-recorded, and each video is filed on the NYRR website, so kids can revisit older sessions they like the most. Just like the in-school program, Active at Home has age-appropriate exercises and videos for all kids.

“I have an activity where I do stretches with a teddy bear that’s intended for the little ones,” Simpson says. “Then we have more traditional exercises, like pushups and burpees, for middle school and high school kids.”

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Simpson and the Rising NYRR

Simpson credits her success as a runner to a physical education teacher who convinced her to join an after-school running program when she was child.

Photo: Rising NYRR

“That really set the path for me to explore track and field in middle school and high school. That teacher gave me the small bit of attention that changed my life,” she says. “Having had that experience personally, I know that public school is such a beautiful and diverse way to reach so many kids.” That’s one of the reasons why she believes in the Rising NYRR programs and loves acting as an ambassador for the group.

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“It’s been such a gift to me to be able to put something positive out in the world during this time,” she says. “It’s been a real blessing to have this as a positive outlet for me to say, ‘No matter what happens with me, I’m able to give back in positive way through Active at Home.'”

Active at Home is available to families anywhere in the world, and it is 100 per cent free to sign up and participate. Click here to find out more.