SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwired - Jan 9, 2014) - It's not news that regular physical activity offers a number of health benefits for young people. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) states that regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles; helps reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases; reduces feelings of depression and anxiety and promotes psychological well-being; and may help improve students' academic performance. But The Little Gym says that families who want to encourage their young children to make physical activity a lifelong, daily priority should establish active habits as early as possible.
"Making physical activity fun is the best way to encourage children to get and stay active," says Ruk Adams, president and CEO, The Little Gym International. "At The Little Gym we know that it's important to keep the emphasis on success, not winning; and on fun, not 'fitness.' If children are having fun as they tumble, run and play, then healthy habits will follow."
Programs like the ones offered by The Little Gym can also help bridge the shortfall caused by recent budget cuts to school districts across the country. HHS recognizes that schools have traditionally had an important role to play in physical fitness through comprehensive school-based physical activity, recess and elective sports programs. But SPARK, a research-based, public health organization that provides Physical Education (PE) curriculum, training & equipment for Pre-K - 12th grade, states that 44% of schools have had to reduce elective offerings (including PE) and another 70% have increased class sizes -- up to 80 students in a PE class in some cases -- due to budget cuts. Today, only eight states require PE as part of each school day.
"At The Little Gym, we recognize that PE programs have more to teach than physical skills. That's why we offer children much more than just active fun each week," said Adams. "While physical activity is a cornerstone of our programs, we take a 'whole-child' approach, challenging children to test their limits as they gain confidence and build self-esteem. And our small group programs also help kids improve their ability to work as part of a team and to listen to and follow instructions. At a time when fewer schools are able to include PE in their curriculum, our programs help children learn about their physical potential as individuals and as part of a group. That knowledge is a great foundation for a healthy, active lifestyle."
For more information about The Little Gym, please visit www.TheLittleGym.com.
About The Little Gym
The Little Gym is an internationally recognized program that helps children build the developmental skills and confidence needed at each stage of childhood. The very first location was established in 1976 by Robin Wes, an innovative educator with a genuine love for children. The Little Gym International, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., was formed in 1992 to franchise The Little Gym concept. Today, The Little Gym International has nearly 300 locations in 29 countries. For more information, visit The Little Gym at www.TheLittleGym.com.