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Redskins Join Local Students For Fitness Fest


At midfield, Devin Thomas nimbly skipped his way through the ladder drill, showing a group of students how it's done.

"You have to concentrate," Thomas told them.

Fifty yards away, Jerry Gray joined another group of students in pushing a sled downfield.

"You have to work as a team to do this," he said. "If the right side of the sled goes one way, you have to make sure the left side [compensates]. So you have to communicate with each other."

Then, as the students started to tire, Gray yelled, "Finish strong! Finish strong!"

In an end zone, Cody Glenn and Alex Buzbee lined up kids to work their way through a series of hurdles, one leg at a time.


Jerry Gray leads kids on the sleds.

The drill helps stretch out hamstrings and hip flexors, Glenn said.

Shouted Buzbee: "Get those legs up!"

Thomas, Gray and 15 other Redskins players took part in a Fitness Fest on Wednesday at Redskins Park.

They worked out alongside 75 students from area middle schools as part of the Redskins Charitable Foundation's "1st Down for Fitness" program.

"They're out here doing the things that we do," Thomas said.

Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students from J.L. Simpson Middle School, Lafayette Elementary School and Gwynn Park Middle School were invited through the 2009 What Moves U Challenge.


Robert Henson leads the obstacle
course. (Ned Dishman Photos)

The What Moves U Challenge tasked the students to stay active for at least 60 minutes a day, every day, during a four-week period. Students at the Fitness Fest on Wednesday met and exceeded that goal.

The Fitness Fest was led by Redskins strength and conditioning coaches John Hastings and Harrison Bernstein.

After Hastings huddled up all of the kids for a pre-workout pep talk, the students separated into five groups. Each group went to a station to take part in an obstacle course relay, a game of tag, the sled push, hurdle stretch or ladder drill.

After Ladell Betts raced a group of students in the 40-yard dash, he reflected on what motivated him to get active.

"For me as a kid, I liked riding bikes and playing any game that involved running," Betts said. "My parents always encouraged me to get outside. They would say, 'When the weather is nice, go outside and play.

"So we'd go outside and make up games if we had to, whether it was tag or hide-and-go-seek. We did it all."

Cody Glenn grew up in Rusk, Tex., so like Betts he would make up games to play with his family and friends.

"We always had games, whether it was kickball or tackle the man with the ball," Glenn said as he directed students through hurdles. "I'm from the country, so we would just go outside and do anything--chase cows if we had to."

Chase cows?

"We would just mess with them," he said, smiling sheepishly.

The lesson, of course, is that kids can exercise and stay physically fit by any means.

The "1st Down for Fitness" program encourages healthy eating and active lifestyles for youth. It is one of several health and wellness programs sponsored by the Charitable Foundation.

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