What is a Kids' Fitness Center?
A kids' fitness center is a business designed to help young people exercise and stay in shape. Often, kids' gyms provide special fitness equipment and activities geared towards children. This equipment may include foam mat-covered floors, a trampoline, or active video games as ways to promote activities to help kids stay fit and reduce the risk of childhood obesity.
Although a kids' fitness center may have freely available exercise equipment designed for children, in most cases activities are organized around classes and workshops. Support from the staff and the parents or guardians of the kids attending the kids' fitness center is important for keeping kids motivated. Most fitness centers have adopted parent participation classes to keep the parents involved in the fitness and fitness education of their children.
Other special classes that are offered at select kids' fitness centers may include karate or other martial arts classes, yoga, rock wall climbing, and children's strength training. Activities such as gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading may also be offered. A kids' fitness center may offer classes on nutrition, motivation, and achievement systems.
Many centers host children's birthday parties. This offers a good opportunity for supervised fun activities for the kids, often with access to equipment — like a rock climbing wall — in a location where parents can be more confident that their children will be safe. A party at a kids' fitness center can also put more attention on the fun and games of the event, rather than the cake and other sweets.
For parents, a kids' fitness center often offers a parents' night out or weekly fun night. For an average of four hours, parents can have a Friday night or the night of the gym's choice off to catch a movie, take a bubble bath, go out to dinner, or enjoy the peace and quiet the house affords when the children are gone for the evening. These nights are not workout times for the kids; rather, there are plenty of games, supervision, and laughs to be had.
Kids' fitness centers may also offer afterschool programs for parents who can't get home when school lets out. With no one to watch over the kids, a kids' fitness center may be the perfect solution. Most centers have background-checked staff, so parents can feel comfortable knowing their children are participating in fun activities and maybe making new friends.
With all the attention childhood obesity has received, it's no wonder kids' fitness centers are popping up all over the place. According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity increased from 6.5% to 19.6% among six to 11 year olds in the US between 2007 to 2008. Experts recommend that children two and older should participate in at least 30 minutes of enjoyable, moderate physical activity each day. These activities and exercise periods can often be provided by a kids' fitness center.
@bythewell - Depending on how old the kids are, there might not be any need for a full service. My nephew is around 8 right now and I could easily take him into the gym and trust that he would just follow me around and try to replicate what I was doing. I can barely keep him off my elliptical machine when he comes to visit, as he's fascinated with that kind of stuff.
Most kids are completely capable of understanding rules that make sense and are smart enough to understand how most gym equipment works if they are shown how a couple of times. As long as they aren't allowed to push themselves too hard, there's no harm in them essentially working out the way an adult would.
@MrsPramm - That would actually be a really good idea, as it would give parents a chance to do their own workout without needing to look after their kids.
I can remember my mother used to try and take us with her a couple of times to the gym, but she had to stop doing it after we found the climbing ropes and went swinging on them and someone complained.
But there was no supervised fitness for kids at that gym, only a babysitting service that wasn't very good (hence the fact that we kept getting away from it).
My parents worked in a gym when I was a kid and I remember they had a children's activity program set up that we could be in after school. It was actually a lot of fun and it helped me to learn what all the equipment in the gym was for, which has come in useful since then.
The only problem was that it was a proper gym, not a kid's fitness center, so we had to work around the gym patrons, but they were fairly tolerant.
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