GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — You won’t find kettlebells or bench presses at this gym. Instead, you’ll find a whole lot of fun. “It’s kind of exercise disguised as play so they do have the exercise elements in it, but it’s definitely a lot of fun as well,” explained Nadine Ashley, lead teacher at My Gym.
At My Gym tiny tykes get to run, climb, swing and slide as much as they want. That’s because it’s all part of their “fitness” routine. Today’s class begins with “circle time.” “We do a quick warm up with them, get their muscles moving,” Ashley said.
Then comes the music. “They seem to really like those parts of class; getting to move and clap along with the music,” she added.
Afterwards students move on to “skills stations” where they work on developing coordination, balance and strengthening muscles. My Gym has classes for kids of all ages, even those as young as six weeks old. “I think it’s great for them to start young with it,” Ashley said. “It builds their confidence; getting to try out things as their younger as well as socializing them.”
Even parents can get in on the action. “I have an older daughter and it gives me time to interact with just her; just mommy and me time,” said Eleni Ozga. “It helps me also to kind of meet other parents and kind of just see how I’m not alone sometimes.”
Mom Rachelle Dyquiangco says the classes have helped her son Sam step out of his comfort zone. “We take care of him at home and so he tends to be shy around other children and I think just coming to the gym is really helped him come out of his shell and be able to play with other kids,” she explained.
According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), toddlers from one to three years old should get at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity, such as a my gym class, every day, along with 60 minutes of unstructured exercise like playing outdoors. Preschoolers from three to five years old should get 60 minutes of structured physical activity along with 60 minutes of unstructured exercise. NASPE also says kids should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, unless they’re sleeping.
After a long day at the gym, these kids aren’t the only ones benefiting from a hard day’s work. “We know a lot of kids go home and take naps right after their class, too so it’s a great way to tire them out,” Ashley said.
That’s something all moms and dads can appreciate.