FULTON — Dave Halstead and Leroy Collins recently volunteered time to show participants of the Fulton Parks Program ways to maintain their fitness despite any potential environmental limitations.
The area personal trainers conducted an event called “Fitness in the Park,” on Aug. 11 during the summer recreation program at VanBuren Park in Fulton. They showed examples of ways to utilize surroundings to exercise for kids roughly ages 5-12 for about 45 minutes before excessive heat prematurely ended the session.
Halstead’s wife, Tiffany, directs the Fulton Parks Program, and Dave Halstead has worked as a personal trainer in the area for the last 10 years. He was aiming to help the young attendees learn how to train despite the closure of gyms at that time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Halstead, Collins, and other adult supervisors wore masks and social distancing was followed during the exercises.
“Basically, we knew we had a group of kids and just wanted to meet up with them, get them up and out and moving, get them away from the screens,” Dave Halstead said. “We wanted to show them, with gyms shut down, that you can use a band, your body weight, whatever you have available to you and that it doesn’t have to be complicated, and that it can also be fun.”
The session was attended by about 15 kids from Oswego County and opened with warmups similar to that of a sports practice with high knees and other short calisthenics to get the body moving.
Halstead and Collins then instructed drills that included agility ladders, resistance bands, and cones, all intended to be fun yet challenging to maintain the collective interest of the varied age group.
They also incorporated a nearby swing set into the routine as a model of how to utilize your environment.
“We wanted to show them they don’t have any limitations if they don’t have a gym or trainer,” Halstead said.
“A lot of people move front and back, up and down, and we wanted to show them that you can move side to side and laterally,” he added. “Even though not all of them are athletes, you can still move like athletes and feel like athletes.”
The session ended early due to rising temperatures that eventually reached the 90’s later that day. The planned afternoon session was also canceled due to excessive heat.
Halstead and Collins spoke to the participants as they rested afterward and fielded questions about various routines. Parents approached Tiffany Halstead at an event the following week and spoke of their kids coming home and sharing fitness tips.
“It was really cool because you could see we had sparked an interest in their eyes, and really gotten their attention,” Dave Halstead said. “I’ve done stuff like this before and sometimes nobody shows up or they don’t really want to be there, but these kids were loving it, they got something from it.”
Dave Halstead owns and operates an online training business and prior to COVID-19 shutdowns, worked at Great Lakes Athletic Training Facilities in Volney. His work with area youth often includes teaching kids how to move most efficiently and mentoring on preparation, establishing goals, and basic nutrition.
Collins is a former NFL running back and has worked as a personal trainer in the area for more than two decades and has worked with high school sports teams in Phoenix and Fulton, among others, as part of his expansive clientele in recent years.
Halstead and Collins, the longtime friends, are hoping to plan similar instruction sessions for area kids in the future and had begun initial planning prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down area venues.