Children's Hospital Colorado

Healthy Kids Programs Change Lives, One Bike at a Time

Girls ride bikes together.

“We probably ride our bikes four to five-ish times a week,” says 10-year-old Teresa proudly.

Her 8-year-old sister Alexa agrees. “We bike in the park and on the trails, but the best is when we bike with our dad at home. I love burning wheels.”

“You mean you like burning rubber,” corrects Teresa.

“Same thing!” says Alexa.

Creating opportunities for healthy lifestyles

The energetic sisters received their bikes almost several years ago through a community bike program Children's Hospital Colorado helped run. The hospital launched the program in 2011, with support from a number of community partners, to help kids develop healthy lifestyle habits through bicycling.

In addition to the bike program, Teresa and Alexa have been involved in Healthy Kids programs at Children’s Colorado like Camp Champions, a collaborative effort with the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center to equip youth with healthy lifestyle skills and habits.

They also participated in a Children’s Colorado-sponsored Girls on the Run club and Share Our Strength’s program Cooking Matters, which Children’s Colorado coordinates in the community to improve nutrition knowledge and eating habits.

“I like cooking now that we’ve done it here,” says Alexa. “Oh, I love kale chips. But mostly I love blueberries.”

Why getting active matters

Prevention, education and outreach coordinators Laura Retzer and Maria Valenzuela say that in the three years they’ve known the girls, they’ve seen drastic changes in the way they think about exercise and eating healthy.

“They’re more active and outgoing now,” says Laura. “They’re also taller… and sassier.”

The sisters are just two of the 200+ kids in the community that received bikes through the program last year, and the joy it brings them, in addition to their increased level of activity, is undeniable.

When asked whether they like running or biking better, Alexa says, “I like them both. I love all sports.” Teresa pipes up with a smile, “Samesies!”