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5 reasons to choose a kid-friendly gym

Wellness
Child swimming

You’ve heard the advice before: To enjoy the benefits of healthy lifestyle, you should maintain a consistent fitness regimen.
And you probably recognize that being a member of a fitness center can be one of the easiest ways to accomplish that goal. But if you’re a busy parent, doing anything consistently— much less working out —can seem impossible.
But what if there was an option that would allow both you and your children to enjoy regular exercise?

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It’s not too good to be true. Kid-friendly fitness centers, which offer on-site child care to help provide parents with regular time to exercise, are a great option. And best of all, many of these fitness centers also promote physical activity in children.
Jenni Giltmier, children’s program coordinator at Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness, our region’s only medical fitness center, says kid-friendly fitness centers such as Tidelands HealthPoint can benefit the entire family.

1. Consistency

Convenient child care offers parents consistent exercise opportunities. Giltmier points out that arranging babysitting can be a hassle and leaving older kids at home where they are apt to play video games, watch TV or chat on their phone may be undesirable. A comprehensive, kid-friendly fitness center that caters to children of all ages, however, can eliminate those concerns.
“Younger children are nurtured and cared for in an active environment; meanwhile, teens have opportunities to work out like the parents,” says Giltmier.

2. Meet others with similar interests

Another advantage for parents is that kid-friendly fitness centers give them the opportunity to meet other parents who share similar interests. Parents can also benefit from access to special family-oriented benefits and programming such as the Parents Nights Out program at Tidelands HealthPoint. It allows parents to drop off their children at the center and enjoy time to themselves in the community. Meanwhile, their children run, dance, play, swim and otherwise have fun at the center.

3. Instill the importance of exercise

Regularly taking your children to the fitness center teaches them exercise should be a priority.
“When parents work out and bring their kids along, kids learn from a young age that exercise is important,” says Giltmier. “The best way to inspire a healthy lifestyle is to let kids see you modeling healthy lifestyle choices.”

4. Keeps kids active

A kid-friendly fitness center allows children and teens to stay active, too.
For younger children, the child care space at Tidelands HealthPoint includes toys and equipment that encourage little ones to crawl, climb, slide, balance, jump and roll.
“Unstructured playtime is vital to overall healthy growth and allows kids to be physically active, practice social skills and use their imaginations while having fun,” says Giltmier.
Teens 13 and older can get a discounted student membership and take advantage of special conditioning classes, shoot baskets in the gym, swim in the pool or spend time working out alongside parents.

5. Kids can try new things

And as kids get older, kid-friendly gyms make it more convenient for them to get involved in different activities, learn new skills or try new sports. For instance, Tidelands HealthPoint offers swimming lessons and a swim team for all ages, special holiday camps throughout the year, a full-day, 10-week summer camp, an afterschool club and weekly fitness classes that include Zumba and yoga.

How to choose

So what should a parent look for when selecting a kid-friendly fitness center? Giltmier suggests seeking a facility that offers special times on its schedule where the whole family can exercise together. At Tidelands HealthPoint, for example, specific periods are set aside for families in the pool and basketball court.
She also says the gym’s children’s instructors should be as experienced as the adult trainers.
And most importantly, Giltmier says that parents should be sure the gym’s child care providers have undergone background checks, know CPR and follow appropriate state guidelines for staff-to-child ratios. Tidelands HealthPoint checks all three boxes.
“Safety should always be the No. 1 concern,” says Giltmier. “Combine that with an environment that nurtures physical activity among parents and children, and you’ve found an excellent kid-friendly fitness center.”

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