Kids should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity helps your child build a stronger and healthier body. In addition, an August 2010 study conducted by the University of Illinois finds that physical exercise can make your child smarter, too. You may find physical education offered in your kid’s school insufficient. Fortunately, what schools lack in terms of physical activities for your child, fitness clubs can offer.
Nearly every city in the U.S. has a YMCA — Young Men’s Christian Association. Founded in 1844 in England to give young men a place for Bible studies and prayer, the YMCA now has branches in approximately 10,000 neighborhoods across the US. Referred to nowadays as simply the “Y”, the YMCA provides a place for adults and children, but with more emphasis on youths. As a non-profit organization, the YMCA encourages healthy lifestyles for kids through fitness activities that include swimming, sports and play. Check out YMCA’s day, overnight and specialty camps to help your child become more active and independent.
Boxing Gyms and Clubs
A strategic game that combines stamina, agility and competitive maneuvers, boxing is not just for grown-ups, but for kids too. Let your child join a boxing club so that he can also improve his reflexes and learn self-defense. Boxing will help your child blow off steam without getting into a fight and can help an aggressive child direct his aggression in another more positive way. Boxing also helps kids stay away from trouble and learn discipline. You’ll find exclusive boxing gyms that cater to kids such as the Santa Ana Boxing Club near Los Angeles, Calif. and Buckeye Boxing Club in Buckeye, Ariz.; however, community centers in smaller towns may offer boxing classes in their after-school programs. Youth centers sometimes offer boxing classes free of charge or at minimal costs to keep kids off the streets.
Commercial and Community Kids Fitness Centers
Many commercial and community fitness centers for kids operate across the country. These fitness centers offer physical activities for children of all ages. They have independent programs as well as parent-participation activities and include gymnastics, martial arts, music, relays and other sports, as well as arts and crafts. Trained instructors provide guidance and assistance at all times. Some fitness centers for kids offer birthday parties and camps. If you don’t have a fitness center that caters exclusively to children in your area, check gyms and clubs that cater to families that offer fitness programs for kids.