A London fitness studio plans to open its doors each Sunday in February to help kids in the city get fit.
Just Sweat Fitness Studio at 268 Piccadilly St. will be staging free Get Fit, Get Healthy seminars from 9-10 a.m. on Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24.
“We’re saddened by how often we hear stories about child obesity and want to try and do something locally to help,” Just Sweat owner Tara Robbins said in a news release. “Education and access to resources are two areas that we can offer some support.”
Robbins plans to show children the positive effects of physical activity, give tutorials on how to exercise and talk about nutrition and eating healthy.
“Each seminar will be creative and relatable to the daily challenges children face in their attempts to make healthy choices. Our belief is that being healthy goes beyond just physical appearance and eating well-balanced meals.”
The seminars are free but Robbins asks that participants register in advance. Visit www.justsweat.ca or phone Robbins at 519-913-5296.
According to Health Canada obesity rates among children have nearly tripled in the past quarter-century.
Overweight teens are 80 percent more likely to remain obese as adults. Excess weight can lead to Type-2 diabetes, hypertension and high blood pressure, bone and joint problems and breathing problems, low self-esteem, depression and negative body image.
According to Lori Fellner, health promotion manager with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) children and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
For teens, formal exercise activities such as running and organized sports (or activities such as martial arts or dance) are likely sources of activity while for younger children the focus could be things like active play and walking to school.
“For children aged five to 17 there should be 60 minutes of at least moderate to vigorous activity every day, but obviously more is better,” Fellner explained. “It is key to healthy growth and development: their movement skills (how they use their bodies), long- and short-term physical, social and emotional well-being.”
Fellner said research has established a link between physical activity and academic achievement.
“For younger children we look for opportunities for play versus structured programs,” she said. “Family time is active time.”
She said parents should try to consciously think of ways to keep their family active as opposed to throwing on the TV or succumbing to handheld games.
“The flip side is reducing sedentary time,” Fellner said. “Children spend an average of six to eight hours of their leisure time every day in front of a screen. We want that to be a max of two hours.”
She said going for family walks is a safe way to explore the neighbourhood, and discover the trails and other active amenities it has to offer.
“Walking to and from school, we’re big on that,” she continued. “It gives parents a chance to reinforce safety messages with their children, and it’s good for the environment.”
She added parents need their exercise too.
“It has different benefits for adults and being active with your children is an easy way to achieve that.”