Mother Magazine Wired Cover
February 1, 1997

Rug Rats Need Exercise Too!

By Edward Birnbaugh, Mother Wired Staff Writer

STOCKTON DESK - In 1997 millions of American mothers will take the exercise trail to shaping up. How many will think to bring their children with them to the gym?

The Economics Institute in Washinbgton, D.C., reported this week that 8 out 10 children under the age of 7 years is overwight. Chief economist Howard Hobbs told Mother Wired that the trend is long standing.

Exercise programs for children have always been part of a well rounded education and training regimen. It has been popularized in the public schools since the 1930's.

For example, today, on West Coast, the San Francisco Gymboree continues its expand to include now some 375 play programs for the City's children. Today many gyms already include children's exercise programs.

Many public parks have become too unpredicatable and dangerous and are forcing families into non-traditional activities.

Good exercise programs can reinforce positive social skills for children and encourage play interaction. It's time well spent! Programs have become more acedemic over the past decade and it seems the trend now is to go back to basics with simple and fun programs.

It's not necessary to enroll a child in an exercise program for them to be fit and develop good social skills. It is important though, that parents be aware of their childrens play activities. Let them have a good place to run, jump, climb and explore.

Programs that focus on fun and not form can be successful in producing children that exercise throughout their lives. Moreover these children are less likely to spend their lives in front of the TV or playing Video Games. Before enrolling a child in exercise class, parents need to ask some questions to the facility to be sure its right for them just as they would a daycare. Check the student teacher ratio, what if children are sick? Use common sense when you walk into a class. are the children having fun? Do they appear to be healthy?

The whole idea of excercise programs is to promote well-being, physically and emotionally. The best programs are those which include the parent becuse it encourages family interaction in a positive environment. There aren't alot of safe environments, these days, where parents can take their children to expend their energy. Its' a blessing and a relief when they do find it!


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