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Providence Alaska Medical Center hosts first Mini Heart Run since 2019

Preschool students from Providence Center for Child Development and Credit Union One Little...
Preschool students from Providence Center for Child Development and Credit Union One Little One’s spent Thursday morning scurrying around Providence Health Park Courtyard, during Providence Alaska Medical Center Mini Heart Run.(Georgina Fernandez)
Updated: Apr. 15, 2022 at 7:30 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Preschool students from Providence Center for Child Development and Credit Union 1 Little 1′s Learning Center spent Thursday morning scurrying around Providence Health Park Courtyard, during the Providence Alaska Medical Center Mini Heart Run.

This was the 19th edition of the event, and the first Mini Heart Run the center has hosted since 2019. The full version of the race kicks off Saturday, with the timed 5-kilometer race at 9:30 a.m. and the untimed 5K and 3K runs at 10 a.m. at the Alaska Airline Center in Anchorage. Registration runs from 7 to 9 a.m.

For the past week, the preschoolers have been learning about heart and body health, including the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, including 5-year-old Mackie Bancrof.

“To keep your heart pumping and get your blood going,” Bancrof said as his reasons for running.

Wayne Lamagdeleine, lead preschool teacher at the Center for Child Development, said that he loves running and getting the chance to share his passion for running with his students. This week, he said that the students have been working on running inside and outside, as well as monitoring their heart health.

“We’ve been checking our hearts, feeling our heartbeats going up and down, and so they’re pretty excited to get out here in front of everyone and play,” Lamagdeleine said.

The run has been something that Bancrof has been looking forward to. He said his favorite part is being able to run fast.

“Running stop sign to stop sign,” Bancrof said.

While the run might have been seen by Bancrof and his preschool classmates as a fun opportunity to play outside and show off who was the fastest in their class, it also helps them start building healthy habits at a young age.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that only 20% of adolescents are engaging in sufficient physical activity. Preschool-age students, experts said, should be getting at least 3 hours a day. That can come from running, riding a bike, or participating in extracurricular sports. Experts say that early action now in children can improve not just physical but mental health in the future.

“We see in children that they have better ability to concentrate, performance at school, fewer episodes or symptoms of depression and anxiety — these sorts of things,” said Arron O’Callaghan, a Physician Assistant at Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute.

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