Exercise for Kids
Berkeley Parents Network >
Classes & Lessons >
Exercise for Kids
I am looking for exercise classes in the Berkeley/Oakland area for
overweight girls (ages 7-10) who are less flexible. I'd appreciate
Check out Junior Jazzercise! The classes get kids moving, are fun and
affordable. I go to the adult classes at El Cerrito studio, but there
are Jazzercise franchises all over so check their website
(www.jazzercise.com) for Junior classes nearest you.
My son is 8 years old and not into sports. I don't need him to be
athletic or into sports but I am concerned he is not getting enough
exercise. We tried soccer - he got bored - and karate - he got
tired of it. Does anyone have any recommendations for sports groups
or clubs for kids who aren't into organized sports? Is there a
forgiving little league group out there? Or wrestling for kids?
Oh! Oh! I know a great Little League organization. You don't say where
you live; it's in Albany. My son, who despises soccer (too rough and
tumble) karate (too formalized, too much actual TOUCHING) and other
sports, adores baseball now. The first years are very gentle -- the
coaches pitch, it's all about positive re-enforcement, sportsmanship,
skill-building, team spirit, etc. Nobody strikes out, they just get a lot
of tries to hit. The parents are supportive and not pushy. As the kids
develop skills, they are given more responsbility; they can strike out,
the kids pitch (until the fourth ball is thrown, then the coach comes in,
so no walks), etc. And then finally they play by ''normal'' rules, but by
that time much of the anxiety has been disspelled and skills are in place.
It is a great organization, I endorse it strongly.
little league mom
Have you tried: gymnastics (there are non-competetive boys' teams at Head
Over Heels in Emeryville); circus (who can resist the trapeze?!); hip-hop
dance (again, there are lots of boys in the classes at New Style
Motherlode on College Ave in Rockridge); family hikes on the weekend?
Why not gymnastics? My 7-yr old and 4-yr old both love it -- they don't
do organized sports (yet), either. They go to El Cerrito Gymnastics, at
the Community Center on Moeser in El Cerrito. There are a variety of
times and days, mostly Mon, Wed, & Thurs, and the instructor, Rory, is
You may want to try fencing. My 11yo son has been fencing at the Sport
Fencing Center for over two years and I've seen a great change in his
confidence and sociability. And he definitely gets a workout. While
fencing can certainly get competitive, this center's main focus is on a
love of the sport and the personal challenge. Kids compete around the Bay
if they choose to, but it's not a pressured thing. And the owners/coaches
are great at keeping it fun but also teaching good sportsmanship and
courtesy. Check out http://sportfencingcenter.com/. And just keep trying
and searching. There are so many choices when it comes to being active.
Don't give up!
It sounds like your son may be non-athletic or perhaps not very much into
team or contact sports. I think alot of people think their children, boys
in particular, need to participate on sports teams. But, exercise does not
mean only team sports. Why not try a solo sport like walking or running,
or try hiking. Lake Merrit Joggers and Striders has runs for children.
There are also some great activities to do while hiking, like
letterboxing, a treasure-hunt style activity. In this way, exercise can
be disguised as a game.
I would like ideas on how to increase the physical activity
level for my oldest child who is just 6 yrs old. She is about 15
pounds overweight and it is all on her tummy. Clothes that fit
her at the waist are a foot too long. To me she is perfect but I
realize that societal pressures aside, there are real health
threats that she will face if her weight continues to increase
at this rate. I need more concret guidance than her doctor is
providing. I am well versed in which foods to serve. I serve
healthy foods but she eats HUGE portions of them. Exept for
refusing to serve her seconds or snacks(which I would hate to
do), I am hoping to have her burn more calories. Has anyone had
luck with organized sports, if so where, when, how? Are there
aerobics or gym classes for kids a after school? exercise
videos?? A fun indoor exercise activity? Soccer? Running club?
Reward charts for eating less? I am serious - anything! It is
hard for me to take her on walks because I have two younger ones
who HATE the stroller but cant really keep up at at pace that
will break a sweat. Thanks for your input.
mom of an overweight kid
Have you ever thought of martial arts for weight
management? I teach children and we spend lots of class
time running, doing push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, etc.
The enviornment is fun, always changing and the focus is
on fitness, safety and self defense.
FYI, I have one adult who lost 30 lbs in 6 months!
Best of luck.
Best indoor exercise I've found for my boys so far is
gymnastics at Head Over Heels in Emeryville. Ice skating at the
Oakland Ice Arena is another winner. Outdoors, the local pool
and soccer games seem to be the best energy-burners. Have fun
with it and good luck.
When my then 7 year old son was getting pretty chunky our
pediatrician said cut back on electronics...so we did.
Naturally our son started running around a LOT more, cause
that's what kids do. So, if that is an issue for your daughter,
that may be one easy (maybe not so easy) thing to do.
There are gymnastics classes around...Windmill Gymnastics in
Richmond, Head Over Heels in I think Berkeley or Emeryville.
Dance classes, martial art classes, swimming....lots of things
kids can do.
My son, now 13, fences now and really loves it and it's hard
work and a lot of exercise.
Good luck to you.
There are nice gymnastics classes at Albany Village, and I think that
also kids' programs at the YMCA. My daughter enjoyed ballet classes in
Morgan Center in Berkeley. A few tips: For snacks, offer fruit, carrot
organic cheerios, and the like--forget anything with partially
in it. You might want to involve her in the process, so that she too
gets used to
reading food labels before deciding what to buy. Gradually wean your
away from huge portions. (Or make the huge portions things that are
her, like fruit salad.) If your daughter is used to drinking sodas,
such as Coke
or Pepsi, or even fruit juice, now's a! good time to cut them out
offer one percent milk or water. Best of luck--your daughter will have
life because of what you're doing.
You don't say where you live, or your child's grade, but I can
recommend Albany-Berkeley Girls Softball League for a nice
spring-time exercise opportunity. It starts at first grade, on
Saturdays. In second grade and up, it's two afternoons plus
Saturday, a couple of hours each time. The first graders
(''micro'' league) assume no athletic experience at all. They
really teach basic skills, and the fun of team play. Check out
Also-Jim Beatty has some great after-school movement classes at
his ''Ha Ha This-a-way'' program, on Eighth St. in Berkeley.
Mostly, find out what she'd like to do/try. Ballet, tap-dance,
gymnastics, martial arts, creative movement/clowning,...
Does her school offer anything after school? Your community
Other ideas: will she swim? ride a bike? jumprope? play ball
games of any kind with your younger ones? play on the jungle-
gym at a nearby playground?
I'd definitely stay away from star charts, etc. I think you're
on the right track getting her to exercise more at something
she enjoys, rather than focussing on eating less food. You
might try serving fancy-looking portions on small plates, and
generally using smaller utensils and portions (she can always
have seconds, but start everyone with smaller portions). I'd
resist the urge to keep her totally away from desserts, etc -
in moderation, with lower calorie healthy foods, they can be
part of a goood diet.
Keep letting her know how beautiful she is, while providing
healthy foods (no ''diet'' foods, please!) and opportunities for
My advice would be not to worry about it too much. Obesity
has been linked to health problems (although more so in
adults,) but if your daughter eats a healthy diet, there is a
good chance she is simply going through a plumper phase,
and she'll soon shoot up in height. My child has yo-yoed
between being off the charts for weight and even being
underweight, but has always evened out in the end. Those
charts are based on averages for ages, and are therefore
supposed to be a long-term indicator of problems, although
often a fairly inaccurrate one.
If you are concerned because your daughter seems too
sedentary, I would encourage you to take her lead and see
what kind of activity she likes, but keep it v! ery low pressure.
Help her develop confidence in what she likes to do (soccer,
roller skating, gymnastics, etc.) but keep the emphasis on
fun, not exercise. I would be very leery of restricting food
consumption or rewarding abstinence from food. You want
her to understand when she is hungry and stop eating when
she is full, and frankly, she is the only one who can know
how much food her body needs at any given time. Good
When my daughter was seven and overweight, she lost weight with
the following schedule: soccer in Albany Berkeley Soccer club (
http://www.abscsoccer.com/) - two practices a week and one game
every Saturday, once a week ice skating class at the Berkeley
ice skating rink (http://www.berkeleyiceland.com/), and once a
week tennis class. She found buddies to skate with, and on Sundays, she would go to
the ice skating rink.
this page was last updated: Nov 28, 2009
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network