Going the Extra 400 Meters

With the Olympics coming up this summer, there’s a lot of buzz about the superstar athletes representing Team USA in London. It’s this time of year that kids decide they want to grow up to become the next Ryan Lochte or Hope Solo, and we love how that gets kids motivated to get moving.

But for most kids and families, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the lives of Olympic athletes and our own efforts to get physically active. The world of an Olympic gymnast who trains eight hours a day is pretty removed from everyday efforts to encourage our kids to actively participate in gym class (if it’s offered) or play outside (if it’s safe and the weather cooperates).

Sometimes it’s helpful to have a little motivation that seems closer to home. Here’s a story that’s inspired us:

Matt Woodrun is an 11 year old with cerebral palsy from Ohio. All the kids in his school were running a 400-meter race, which is just one lap around the track, a quarter mile. Matt wanted to run. Despite having difficulty moving and lagging far behind the group, Matt refused to give up. His determination was infectious: his entire class spontaneously decided to run behind him and motivate him to keep going.

Our take-away? Making physical activity a part of your daily life isn’t always about being the fastest, the strongest or the best. It’s about getting out there, trying new things you thought you couldn’t do and having fun along the way.

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