Feature Article - November 2006
Find a printable version here

An Exercise In Creativity

Fitness programs that lead the pack

By Stacy St. Clair

School's In

Crowded cardio classes with loud-thumping music aren't the only ways to get people moving. Many parks departments and fitness centers are finding great success—and even greater interest—in schoolyard sports programming. By tapping into the participant's inner child, the activities offer a fun exercise option with relatively little overhead. So, keep an eye on the ball and…

…WIFFLE IT: The sandlot game of Wiffleball has become a fiercely competitive sport in the past two decades. Since 1980, it has exploded as an organized sport, with more than 100 tournaments each year and successful leagues all over the country. Competitions draw dozens of teams and national television coverage.

…DODGE IT: Dodge ball is more than the name of a campy Ben Stiller movie. It's an international sport with nearly 300,000 sanctioned players. Children make up the largest player population, but adults aged 25 to 35 represent the fastest-growing segment. The sport is becoming so popular, the International Dodge Ball Federation has a full-time executive director. For more about the Mississippi-based organization, visit www.dodge-ball.com.

…KICK IT: The World Adult Kickball Association is the brainchild of four 20-something guys from Washington, D.C., who just wanted to blow off "some corporate steam." Their tiny team has since exploded into a national pastime, with more than 25,000 registered members across 20 states. The sport is decidedly co-ed, with women making up 51 percent of players. The association's marketing department promotes the sport as a good way to meet people, including romantic interests and business contacts. They also push kickball as good exercise. According to the organization, a 220-pound man will burn 582 calories during a 50-minute match, while a 135-pound woman will burn 357. For more information about the sport and organizing a league, visit www.kickball.com.