Shreyashi DasGupta stumbles upon a new idea to keep kids fit - gyms for juniors!
It's never too late or too early to be fit. Just because you are a child that doesn't mean you shouldn't stay healthy. Of course you must indulge in your favourite ice-creams and chocolates, but sitting in front of the TV all day is a complete no-no. Childhood is hardly the time to become a couch potato!
Today, many kids are enrolling into gyms and aerobics classes to stay fit and are in fact quite vociferous when they talk about exercising. Having encountered obesity and juvenile diabetes within their friend circles, gyming for them is not about remaining slim and fit. Instead, it's a way to keep the doctor away! Most doctors agree that a healthy body can ward off diseases more easily and recover faster. Rashmi Mehra, whose daughter Devika attends the gym regularly agrees, "Exercising is beneficial for everyone, especially growing children. It helps in the proportional development of their body." No wonder gyms for kids are mushrooming across larger cities!
Jyoti Gandhi, Project Director of a brand new gym for kids, Skippy's Mind and Body Gym, says, "We have specifically designed classes and modules in a manner such that the activities help kids stay healthy, fit and energetic."
Skippy's Mind and Body Gym has members as young as three years. The gym offers yoga and exercises and encourages children to play old Indian games like marbles, gilli danda, kite flying and horse riding. Jyoti says, "It's a fun, focussed and organised way to work out. We start with body exercises and then relax the young minds." Simran Dhorda, who attends the gym regularly says, "I enjoy every moment of working out, whether it's swimming or doing a climbing exercise."
Children can also try aerobic activities like bicycling, swimming, jogging and running. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster and a person breathes harder. When done regularly and for continuous periods of time, aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.
Ruchita Mehta, an instructor at Gold's Gym suggests, "Basic fitness training, gymnastics and dance aerobics improve stamina and flexibility. Kids should spend half an hour exercising everyday." And what should children like Dhruv Jain, an 8-year-old who doesn't want to join a formal weight-training programme, do? "You should play a sport, go to a nearby park to play, walk or just climb staircases. It's important to build up your energy, strength and determination," says Ruchita. Energy building is really important. "Children these days get tired very easily. It's essential to involve them in activities that increase their stamina," says Soma Aditya, who encourages her sons to play a variety of sports.
Sports are also a fun way to remain fit and healthy. Says Homiyar Mistry, who runs athletics programmes for kids in the city, "All it takes for a child to remain fit is to go into an open field and play a sport. Playing a sport isn't just healthy for the body, but also the mind."
Those who don't fancy lifting baby dumbbells or pumping iron can also opt for a dance class. "The best part about dancing is that you don't actually realise that you are exercising. All you need to do is enjoy what you are doing," says Ashima Gupta, a classical dance teacher. Her classes always begin with a round of warm-up exercises. So, give the TV and computer games a break and step out and break a sweat this season.
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