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Redskins' 5K Highlights 'Women, Family And Fitness'

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For decades, women were thought to be outsiders in the rough and tumble world of professional football.

Not anymore.

Women have become increasingly empowered by sports, both as participants and spectators.

And on Saturday, the Redskins and the NFL paid tribute to women and their families by hosting the "Fit For You" 5K at National Harbor, Md.

More than 2,000 fans, many of them women wearing their favorite team's jersey and apparel, participated in the 5K.

Proceeds from the event support the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, a joint program of the NFL and the American Heart Association that inspires children to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day in school and at home.

The event highlighted ways female NFL fans can embrace football while staying true to their style and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.

"The day is about women, family and fitness," Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, said. "It's a women's initiative event combined with PLAY 60. It's wonderful to be working with the NFL. We're encouraging kids to get out every day for 60 minutes. And it starts with us. We have to be good examples to our kids and with the fans."

Tanya Snyder and Christy Cooley, wife of Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, were among the hosts of Saturday's event. After an opening ceremony, the 3.14-mile walk/run began at National Plaza and continued along a scenic pathway to Southpointe before finishing back at National Plaza.

A pre-race activity included a Redskins PLAY 60 experience emphasizing football and fitness.

Among tents set up at National Plaza was a women's NFL apparel retail boutique that included clothes for women to wear for a night out on the town, a day at the gym, casual Friday or a Sunday at the stadium.

Another tent featured Yolanda Banks, wife of former Redskins quarterback Tony Banks, offering lessons on cooking healthy, nutritious food.

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Redskins alumni Rick 'Doc' Walker, Pat Fischer and Ravin Caldwell mingled through the crowd before the 5K got underway.

The Redskins Marching Band was on hand to perform the National Anthem and, of course, "Hail to the Redskins."

Sportacus from the children's television show "LazyTown" demonstrated some simple exercises for kids to do on a daily basis.

And considering fitness was the principle theme of the day, fitness consultant and professional dancer Tracy Anderson was on hand to provide tips to the crowd.

Anderson has worked with pop star Madonna and her list of celebrity clients includes movie stars Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Courtney Cox, among others.

Anderson believes women should focus on strengthening their smaller muscle groups so that these muscles can pull in the larger muscles, resulting in a lean figure that is not bulky. She developed a program, which includes three DVDs and an upcoming book, called the Tracy Anderson Method.

"I'm not a fan of women working their muscles over and over in the same way," Anderson said, "because that creates bulk and it takes away the things that make women have a more feminine body. Women don't really need heavy weights. It's light weights, changing of the movements a lot, and making sure you exercise six days a week.

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"Women lose their results very quickly because our bodies go through different changes, whether it's because we have babies or it's because we have hormonal changes. So being consistent with an exercise regimen is key."

Anderson also advocates dance as a great way to get exercise for the mind and body.

"I've been a dancer since I was three and my mom was a ballerina for 30 years, and dance is such a powerful outlet for women in terms of exercise," she said. "It creates an incredible amount of balance and you're changing rotations and your movements all the time. You're getting connected to yourself and music. You're improving your cardiovascular as well. It's a really positive thing for women."

And count her as a Redskins fan, too.

"One of the things I've noticed about the Redskins is that they have this tremendous amount of spirit and community and I can really see it and feel it," she said.

More information about the NFL "Fit For You" campaign and other initiatives can be found at www.nfl.com/women.

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