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Free exercise program offered to combat health crisis

August 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Citizens 100 is a Cal State Northridge program that offers free workouts by kinesiology students at a San Fernando recreation center.

"I went to one of the meetings, and they said stop by the San Fernando rec center," said Diane Haro of San Fernando.

When Haro found out about the five-week free course, she said she had to go for it.

"It woke up the community. Hey, you can exercise," said Carolyn Urquidez of San Fernando.

Urquidez said she loves that the program is directed at women who will in turn share what they learn.

"Especially these women, they won't spend a dime on their conditioning. they're conditioning and their fitness. They will spend everything for their kids and their family," she said.

Professor Steven Loy of CSUN's department of kinesiology says the goal is to demonstrate that a no-cost or low-cost program is possible.

"It's the only way we're going to get to this public health crisis that we're in," he said.

Loy's interns create stations of upper- and lower-body strength, agility and cardiovascular activities.

"They're kinesiology educated, so they have backgrounds in exercise physiology, biomechanics, anatomy, athletic training so that they can deliver the program at a level that the participants understand," Loy said.

According to public health experts, over half the residents in Los Angeles fail to meet the minimum exercise recommendations. Many of those people are overweight.

Loy knows the problem and feels this is the answer.

"They get a full idea that exercise can be fun and that there's this variety of exercise that they can engage in," Loy said.

The program started in San Fernando, but it will expand to Sylmar and Pasadena, with the intention of getting other Cal State Universities involved so that they can offer the program all over Southern California.

"It could be replicated in every university that has a kinesiology, health education, nutrition department," Loy said.

The Network for a Healthy California supports the cause by incorporating the program with "Get Active Get Healthy LA" and beating the drum of the importance of community-level action to increase our citizens physical activity, along with supplying nutrition information when requested.

This program receives no city, state or federal funding. The CSUN students work promotionally through an internship program.

The five-week program at the San Fernando Recreation Center ends in a week, but a new series will begin after Labor Day.

  • El Cariso Park, Sylmar (off of the 21) - Orientation, clearance to participate and registration on Sept. 12 at 7 a.m. with program to be begin Sept. 19 at 7 a.m.

  • Villa Park, Pasadena - Orientation/registration on Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. with program to begin Sept. 26 at 4 p.m.

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