Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions address eating habits and exercise. For some local youth, a class they have been taking at the McPherson Family YMCA has given them a fitness head start on moving into 2013.
CrossFit Kids is offered several times a week for children in preschool to grade 12, who are divided by age and ability. The structure is based on CrossFit, a class already offered to adults that is based on constantly varied functional movement, performed at high intensity.
The kids class began in November and has grown to about 15 participants.
“I do believe CrossFit grabs the whole concept of what a healthy lifestyle is,” said YMCA program director Konner Bergstrom, who teaches alongside wellness director Candace Davidson. “And it’s not just at the gym, we emphasize what it’s like outside the gym, too.” Bergstrom said this involves proper eating, sleeping and exercise techniques. Some exercise techniques in the class include squats, upper and lower body strength, body weight and weights.
“The difference with CrossFit is these kids are getting exposed to so many different things,” Bergstrom said. “Being broad will essentially allow kids to be better at specializing because they’re able to be involved in those areas they’ve been exposed to.”
For the older students, their classes look similar to the adult classes.
“The long-term goal is for these kids to continue CrossFit as a lifestyle and enjoy fitness,” he said. “Hopefully they'll learn to enjoy it and associate working out with fun.”
Bergstrom said in the month of classes, he already has seen improved form and technique. This is especially true for the younger participants, who are being taught how to do participate safely.
“We’re capturing what a young kids’ body is able to do before they develop bad posture and mobility,” he said. “We’re capturing and maintaining it.”
Games also are incorporated for younger participants. This is done in hopes students will associate fun with exercise, especially as they age.
“There’s going to be a transition from fun, as in games and working out, to fun becoming stronger and more capable lifters,” he said. “I think that’s where our big transition’s going to occur.”
Seven-year-old participant Jaiden Strickland struggled at first in the class, but grandmother Patty Strickland said he now looks forward to attending and shows her what he learns afterward.
“He likes it,” she said. “I think it’s good to get the energy out, and it gives him a safe place to play. It keeps him from being in front of the TV.”
Megan Wilson, mother of 7-year-old participant Hunter Wilson, said Hunter enjoys being active and has participated in several YMCA classes.
Page 2 of 2 - “Hunter is definitely not one to sit around,” Megan said of Hunter. “She wants to be involved.”
The class participant also enjoys demonstrating what she learned to her two younger sisters.
“It teaches them a healthy lifestyle,” Megan said.
Alexis Peterson, 11, said she likes the exercises.
Tytin, 7, said it’s fun to get out of the house, and her favorite part is dodgeball.
Bergstrom said he can tell the children enjoy the class, especially because many are requesting classes continue through Christmas break.
“That’s the overarching theme for these kids, that it’s starting to be something they look forward to,” he said. “It’s a time to unleash and unwind, especially after a day of sitting in school.”
This is important especially during a time when families typically eat more.
“It’s important to work out during the holidays and continuing on,” he said. “It’s not working out when its convenient, but shooting toward that lifestyle of healthy individuals.”