On March 14, San Diego Youth Services and the Spring Valley East Community Center partnered with American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and hosted their very first Communities in Motion event. Communities in Motion, part of A Nation in Motion Campaign, was a one-day family event that focused on empowering kids, families and communities to take control of their bone and joint health through healthy lifestyles. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for bone health: excess weight can affect bone growth and overall musculoskeletal health, resulting in limited mobility and deteriorated quality of life.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) first worked with San Diego Youth Services (SDYS) in 2011 as lead funding partner of the playground build held the at Spring Valley East Community Center. Last summer, AAOS staff returned to the campus and met with SDYS to learn about barriers that families in their community faced. Many did not have easy or affordable access to fitness centers or sports leagues for exercise, or nutritious meals to support better bone and joint health.
From those conversations, Communities in Motion was created to help minimize barriers to getting enough physical activity, and to show that exercise and fun are not mutually exclusive and that nutritious meals are possible on smaller budgets. Additionally, this was an opportunity for orthopedic surgeons to demonstrate and encourage the practice of keeping bones and joints strong for life.
In advance of the event, a core advisory group of orthopedic surgeons and staff created an event workbook filled with simple exercises and illustrations that focused on how to strengthen different parts of the body. That information, and those exercises, served as the foundation of Communities in Motion. During the event, the Team Docs showed participants how to have fun and exercise together but, more importantly, they exercised alongside them to ensure proper form and that everyone can benefit from exercise, activity and movement. Components of the event workbook are available online for those who did not attend the event at ANationInMotion.org/Communities.
Attended by more than 100 children, families, and community members, Communities in Motion offered a variety of interactive activities highlighting specific bone and joint areas that included stretching, yoga, running, meditation, hula hooping and nutrition.
“It was an extremely successful event as our youth and families benefitted from the education, hands-on experience and participation in all the activities,” said Walter Phillips, CEO of San Diego Youth Services.
Program Manager Susanne Ball added, “The response from the event has been nothing but great praise. The families really enjoyed it and would like more events like this in the future.”
Everyone was able to take home a bag with fitness items, and they were encouraged to continue to practice all the newly-learned exercises and wellness advice at home. Staff are currently working on plans for a 2018 event next March.
Photos courtesy © AAOS/Todd Buchanan & Erin Lynn Ransford 2017