Health Clubs Offer Physical Education Alternatives
Regardless of the fact that we are currently faced with a nationwide childhood obesity epidemic, there are no federal laws requiring schools to provide students with valuable physical education classes. In fact, a recent trend shows that American schools are cutting physical education and reallocating the funds for more challenging academic offerings that promise to make American children more competitive in the global market. But, this thinking is flawed.
Rigorous studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prove that there is a direct correlation between physical activity in children and academic performance. For this reason, many parents are turning to their local health clubs for guidance, support, and youth programming options that not only build strong bodies, but strong minds as well.
Traditionally, the gym has been a kid-free domain. If children were present, they were confined to on-site babysitting rooms where they participated in arts and crafts, played with toys or even watched TV, while their parents enjoyed an hour or two of uninterrupted exercise. Gone are these days.
Over the last decade, we have seen a paradigm shift in the fitness environment. Instead of locking children away with toys and crayons, local gyms are offering sport-specific training courses, group fitness classes, semi-private training sessions, dance, yoga and gymnastics geared towards school-aged children that promote healthy habits.
With the push to integrate fitness as preventative medicine for chronic health problems in adults, it makes sense to do the same for children; to combat the rising issue of childhood obesity by developing accessible, age-appropriate fitness programs that foster positive, long-term, healthy habits.
Encouraging physical activity in children is a social responsibility. While state governments work to repair the pitfalls of the current legislation, parents, educators and fitness professionals are coming together to seek new alternatives by turning to the health clubs they already train at.
Part of our job as fitness professionals is to recognize a need within our local communities and work to meet those needs. If your facility does not currently offer programs that cater to youth fitness and wellness, you may want to sit down with parents, teachers or administrators to define your area’s specific needs and work to foster a culture that promotes life-long physical activity in the future of our nation, our children.