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Fit For a Cause: Walking For Healthier Babies

Crowds converge on a recent March starting line. (Photo courtesy of March of Dimes)

Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern

Sometimes it’s just too easy to stay planted on the couch during that Real Housewives marathon—especially during the cold winter months. You know you should fit in at least a little activity for the day, but what will inspire you to get up and go? It’s different for everyone, but a sure-fire way to feel a connection to your active side is picking a cause to be fit for! The perfect motivation this month can be found in the form of March for Babies, the March of Dimes walks which support research to help all women have healthy, full-term pregnancies. The 3-mile events start (appropriately) in March and continue into the summer, taking place at more than 900 locations across the country. Money raised for the cause funds research and programs that promote healthy youngsters from conception to toddlers. Each year, March for Babies enlists an ambassador family to spread the word. For 2012, it’s the Witstrucks. Now a healthy 5 year old, Kieran Witstruck was born at 31 weeks and spent the first months of his life in the newborn intensive care. Mom Shalini says she never expected Kieran to be born preterm. “Being healthy and fit is very important to me,” she says. “When I found out I was pregnant I made sure to eat healthy and maintain a good level of fitness to stay healthy during my pregnancy.” The Witstrucks still don’t know what caused Kieran’s birth to come so early. “Forty percent of preterm births are credited to unknown causes and we fall into that category. It’s one of the things March for Babies is trying to help doctors understand,” Shalini says. Shalini and her husband Shane are both runners, and have finished many races together. But what sets the March for Babies apart from other races and walks is the super family-friendly mentality. “It’s a great thing to bring your kids to,” she says. “They get to be a part of something to help other children and reaching the finish line gives them a real sense of accomplishment." Recalling one of the previous Marches she and Kieran have walked in, Shalini tells us, “I’ll never forget, I met this wonderful woman. Her son and Kieran walked together and held hands the whole way. It’s a magical thing.”

Stay tuned tomorrow for five more active events around the country that are inspiring us to keep up with our training all year long.