Based on their seemingly endless energy levels, it's often assumed that leading a healthy and active lifestyle is something that comes with the territory of being a kid. However, the digital world and easy access to unhealthy snacks can steer children in the opposite direction of health. Plus participation in team sports just isn’t enough to keep youth healthy. It takes more to ingrain good habits in the “iPad generation”.

Helping to share healthy habits is where Kim Harvey along with her Young and Healthy Trust comes in. Kids are encouraged to lead an active and healthy lifestyle through an interactive virtual trip around the world that they go on with their classrooms. The Zespri Young and Healthy Virtual Adventure programme works to instil positive choices through encouraging small daily habits. In order to move around the Virtual Adventure course, the children need to take “real world” action to earn the points that move their class team around the globe. By completing challenges like logging their exercise, amount they sleep, how much water they drink, along with eating fruits and veggies, students unlock virtual visits to different parts of the world. 

These actions in turn also help teach students how their choices contribute positively to the environment. “The programme encourages kids to think about sustainability and how healthy habits contribute to a healthier environment,” shares Kim. “Eating more fruit and vegetables could reduce packaging, and by walking or biking as often as possible, they’ll create less pollution.”

We wanted to learn from Kim what her weekly running routine looks like when she’s not helping others make moves.

Morning, lunchtime, evening runner?
Morning... before I have time to think of all the reasons I can’t do it!

Favourite post-run snack / meal?
A banana filled with crunchy peanut butter.

Outside of your shoes, what’s one running essential you can’t go without?
Ear phones

Best piece of running advice you’ve ever received?
Just put your shoes on and start.

Running Solo or Running in a group?
Solo

Music, Podcast, or your own thoughts? What are they?
A mix depending on the weather...on a sunny day, I just soak up the beautiful surroundings that I live in!

In 3 words how would you describe yourself as a runner?
Work in progress.

Favourite running route in NZ?
Anywhere in Queenstown.

Running distance a week?
Currently 10kms...it’s so cold right now!!

I run because…
It lifts my energy and mood plus helps my brain to problem solve.

Where does your mind tend to wander while running?
Stuff I need to do.

What’s your #1 way of maintaining a sound mind?
Being grateful for all that I have every day.

Favourite ASICS shoe?
GEL-Kayano


As a passionate well-being pioneer, Kim has concentrated on helping others lead their best lives nearly her whole life. With a background in group fitness, personal training, and corporate wellbeing, Kim’s career focus evolved into building programs aimed at providing children with the foundations early on for their strongest physical and psychological health and wellbeing. “I realised that if we could help young people embed healthy habits as children, for the good of their physical and mental health, perhaps we could make an impact on the ballooning poor health of many adults.”

Young and Healthy in Schools

Turning technology into a tool for health has been at the centre of Kim’s initiatives and students are eager to participate. Rewarded with short videos of the place they’re “visiting”, students are led by our ASICS Ambassadors while interacting as their own unique avatars. Daily physical activity is encouraged with the help of professional athletes and ambassadors Kane Williamson, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Ardie Savea, and Samantha Charlton. The program is offered FREE to schools across Aotearoa with over 85,000 tamariki participating so far during the three years it has been run.

For parents aiming to get their kids to eat more healthy, the virtual adventure is a great way of making better food choices a fun challenge rather than a chore. Children who participated in the program last year cut their junk food tendencies by half.

Kim’s Top Three Tips for How to Keep Kids Active:

  1. Be Active Yourself: They may not listen to what you say, but they are always watching what you do! So be their role model.
  2. Get Active Together: In the 5-12 age bracket our kids want to hang out with us, so it’s a great way to spend time together and let them take the lead on new activities to try and challenge you with.
  3. Try New Activities: Find activities that are fun and make it a regular thing, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day to start with. Consistency is key to developing healthy habits and getting the great feeling that comes with each bout of activity.

When it comes to maintaining the energy needed for her own active lifestyle the biggest key: SLEEP. “I try to get the best night sleep that I can, because that sets me up with the mindset to be able to do all the other “little” things each day that help my mind and body, like drinking plenty of water, eating foods that nourish my body and brain, and exercising,” says Kim.

Spaces for classrooms are quickly filling this year but spots are still available! Parents or teachers who would like to get their child's school involved can visit the Young and Healthy website and complete the form to register interest.



Read more from runners and athletes of the ASICS community in our Sound Mind Sound Body Series on the blog.


Plus visit our Knowledge Base for resources on important topics for runners - everything from how to improve your speed or distance to what to look for in running shoes.