By Ann-Kristin Allen :: Photography by Kelsey Grudle
Years ago, our after-school activities included playing with friends outside, watching boring game shows on the non-HD television or doing our homework. Now kids turn on their Xbox, PlayStation®, iPad or iPhone. Children of today are learning and understanding skills we did not have to learn as they participate in the evolving high-tech and social media world.
Most importantly, we want children of today to understand that in order to accomplish what they want in life, being healthy is a necessity. Our objective is to create an environment for the children to discover what they love to do physically, and then encourage them to do more of it. This is where Cordillera Kids’ Fitness comes in.
Kids’ fitness is not working out in the gym utilizing a treadmill or lifting heavy weights, rather it’s in an environment where they can have fun and improve their health. It is an excellent way for kids to bridge themselves into the sport of their choice because it teaches agility, balance, coordination, strength, endurance and flexibility.
Agility is an important skill that must be acquired at an early age. It is the ability to change direction quickly and easily. Agility drills for kids can increase nimbleness and speed, and that is important for all sports.
Balance and Coordination
Developing balance and coordination from an early age sets the stage for kids to be successful in a wide variety of activities. Balance is the ability to maintain a stable position while coordination is the ability to move through a complex set of movements. Balance and coordination depend on the workings of multiple body organs and systems. The eyes, ears, brain and muscles work together. The skill of balance and coordination should be introduced to kids prior to power.
Children should not be subjected to the strains of power lifting and heavy weights. Heavy weights can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and cartilage. Improving strength is very important for all sports but should be done with lighter weights and higher reps or utilizing their body weight.
Endurance is developed when kids perform in an aerobic activity. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster and when it is done regularly it will strengthen the heart which is necessary for all sports.
Flexibility is the ability to move joints and muscles to their maximum range of motion. Flexibility with kids is sometimes overlooked but should not be forgotten, especially through “growing pains.” A rapid bone growth can cause stress on muscles and supporting connective tissues. Flexibility exercises can be used to target muscle groups to relieve these pains.
One of the most important benefits of kids’ fitness is the mental benefit they will receive. Kids who are more active will have greater self-esteem, confidence, concentration and energy, and a stronger memory. Exercise enhances the brain’s metabolism, burns off excess harmful hormones and releases needed hormones in the body.
At the Clubs of Cordillera Ranch, we have group circuit training for kids ages 8-13. Group training is ideal for kids because of the opportunity to socialize. We will emphasize proper form to prevent injuries and create good habits which they can take to adulthood.
Unique Qualities of Kids’ Fitness are:
• Children will be assessed with their physical and age-related readiness before participating.
• It includes specialized equipment geared towards youngsters: equipment will be lighter and smaller with less resistance.
• There are easy to perform exercises focusing on specific skills such as balance, coordination, agility, strength, endurance and flexibility.
• It is an introduction to a variety of ways to exercise such as plyometric, yoga and resistance training.
• It provides a safe and comfortable environment within the Club.
We recognize that all of us come from different backgrounds and we want to empower the differences within each child. I grew up in Norway where my parents stressed the importance of academics. I ran to school and skied during the winter months. My husband Gevin, on the other hand, rode a bus when he was young and had a personal driver during high school. He played soccer when he was younger but fell in love with golf at the age of 13. Our oldest son loved skateboarding when he was young. He was gifted with computer building by the age of 4. He continued gaming and made money through middle and high schools. Technologically gifted, he became a Social Media Influencer in LA, all the while staying in shape because of the foundation of healthy habits that we had given him. Our youngest son’s dedication to fitness is similar. He was academically minded, receiving a scholarship from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. He was an avid tennis player when he was younger and is currently a dedicated yoga student who just received his Yoga Certification in India during spring break of this year.
Each child is very special to us. Cordillera Kids’ Fitness Program is our way to share the importance of physical activity and give all children the gift of health.
Ann-Kristin Allen is the TPI Level 3 Fitness Professional and Gevin Allen is the Director of Golf Instruction and Player Development at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. They can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.