It has often been said that it’s never too late to change, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. But rather than setting our daughter off on a path where she would one day have to contemplate what she eats and how active she becomes, my wife and I decided that it’s actually never too early to begin engaging her in a completely healthy lifestyle.
That’s why we decided to start taking our little girl Emma (1-year-old), to a local children’s fitness center called My Gym on a weekly basis. The fitness establishment is the perfect place to get her started on a variety of nourishing lifestyle activities. There, Emma not only gets to interact socially with other kids her age, but she also learns fitness fundamentals such as running, jumping, climbing, balancing, flexibility, and more. The gym is divided into two separate areas including the “open gym,” an indoor playground (much needed especially in the dangerous Austin, Texas summer heat where we reside) and the “classroom” which hosts structured, weekly classes lead by two My Gym fitness coaches.
The open gym’s active play hours allow for unlimited daily fun time, complete with trampolines, balance beams, ball pits, ladders, stairs, and even a climbing wall. Kids are afforded the luxury of running up and down, jumping around, and working on balance and agility with mini obstacles. They can also shoot baskets on mini hoops. Some overachievers are often seen climbing up ladders and scaling monkey bars that are rotated daily to prevent boredom.
The classroom provides a more focused and organized setting so coaches can walk your kids through activities ranging from balance beams to swinging from bars and rings. The class also allows for crucial interaction between parents and kids so demonstrated exercises can be worked on at home. Exercises could include somersaults or baby pushups and to emphasize strength building and flexibility from ages as young as 10 months.
We generally visit the gym 2-3 times a week and will most likely increase that number as Emma gets older. After class, just like active adults and athletes, we stress proper nutrition with a diet high in fruits and vegetables including berries, bananas, carrots, spinach, oranges, black beans, peas, and lima beans (a surprising hit we recently introduced).
My Gym touts its ability to improve the lives of children world wide with all of its skillful services. However, we don’t look at it as an introduction, but rather a supplement to the active lifestyle we lead by example at home. We agree with their strategy on helping kids feel good about themselves which will give them a jumpstart on success throughout their lives. Hopefully all new parents will give their kids the same opportunities at such a crucial time of development. In our view that is “the sooner, the better!”
Words by Fit Fathers Chris Anderson