Like most parents, I worry about my child’s health—more specifically about his eating habits since he basically only eats about a dozen foods and won’t try anything new. Well, it turns out there is a local program where kids have fun while learning about exercise and healthy food choices. It’s called Savvy Kids Fitness, and there are pediatricians in North Alabama who highly recommend it. In fact, some families drive 45 minutes every week to attend.
Savvy Kids Fitness is an ongoing adventure in fitness and nutritional education for children ages six to 12 years-old. The program uses current, popular exercise programs, including Zumba, yoga, stability ball, kickboxing, agility ladder and various forms of cardio, as well as strength training. Each session also includes nutritional education to help kids make savvy eating choices. The goal of Savvy Kids Fitness is to help kids make exercise and healthy eating something they love and want to continue for a lifetime. They meet weekly at 4 p.m. at the Athens Recreation Center beside Athens High School and the cost is $5 a class per child. Each class includes a healthy snack and kids will get to try different types of exercise and foods.
The Best Kind of Peer Pressure
I decided to attend a session with my son to see what it was all about. The instructor, Flo Doughty, brought samples of grain, whole grain flour, and enriched flour for the kids to feel. She used the samples to explain what happens when grain is processed into flour and how our bodies process food. Then she handed out samples of homemade whole grain bread. And right before my very eyes, my son actually tried something new!! I could hardly contain my excitement!! But Flo wasn’t surprised; she says that many parents have told her their children won’t try new foods for them but will try them in the group setting at Savvy Kids Fitness.
The class itself of extremely positive and encouraging, giving each child a chance to ask and answer questions, report to the group about the healthy choices they had made that week, and set a goal for the upcoming week. Maybe the goal would be to try one new food. Maybe it would be to eat more veggies. Maybe it would be to choose a vinaigrette dressing instead of ranch. And I was pleasantly surprised by how much the kids knew about such things as nutrients, fiber, and cholesterol and how to read an ingredients label! Not only are they learning how to make healthy choices, but they’re also learning WHY they should make them.
Next, we headed into the gym where the kids completed a fun obstacle course. They clearly had a great time, and they also worked up a good sweat. Then it was on to a game of black light volleyball using glowing balloons, which I think was my son’s favorite part and he asked if he can go back again soon.
I loved Flo’s hands-on approach to education, and I love that she’s made it such a positive class. All of the kids were excited to be there, and it was clear that they are learning what she’s teaching. Flo created this class when she realized there were no programs to help kids with both fitness and nutrition, and her own enthusiasm and experience has made it a fun and beneficial program for any child!
And as a group, Savvy Kids Fitness has participated in a wide variety of community activities including the Rocket City Kids Marathon, fundraisers for children battling cancer, and Superheroes Fun run to show support and also encourage being active. So, grab your kids and go check out this wonderful local program!
Savvy Kids Fitness