SOURCE: The Little Gym International

February 23, 2015 13:32 ET

Make Fitness a Family Affair

The Little Gym Offers Parents Tips to Help Children Form Healthy Habits by Keeping the Focus on Fun

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwired - Feb 23, 2015) - Habits can be difficult to break -- and the child development specialists from The Little Gym say that can be a very good thing when you are talking about the kinds of healthy habits that parents can help their children develop right from the start. The key to getting those healthy habits to "stick," say these experts, is to make certain that they are actually rewarding and enjoyable for your children.

What can you do to encourage your child to develop healthy habits? The Little Gym President & CEO Ruk Adams says, "As a parent, you pass more than genes down to your children -- you pass down your habits too! If you make healthy food choices, your children are more likely to do the same. And if you make fitness part of everyday family life, your children are more likely to regard being active as fun, and not a chore." The Little Gym offers these suggestions to help parents get the whole family up and moving.

1. Incorporate physical activity into the family routine with a nightly family walk or bike ride.
2. Train as a family for a charity run or walk.
3. Celebrate special occasions -- like birthday or anniversaries -- with something active such as a hike, a basketball or soccer game or a bike ride.

Helping your children develop healthy habits early on in life may even help them do better in school over the long term, according to a New York Times article that highlighted the findings of a study published in Pediatrics. The results of that study demonstrated a strong link between physical activity and development of the part of the brain that controls "executive functions" like mental multitasking and concentration. These executive functions are the thinking skills that have the strongest influence on your child's academic performance.

"Children like to play. That's why making physical activity fun is the best way to encourage children to get and stay active," said Adams. "Like family bike rides and games of tag, the programs at The Little Gym focus on fun-filled ways for children to burn off energy and make new friends while they develop self-confidence in their physical abilities. And that's a great start on a lifetime habit that pays dividends in both physical and mental health."

For more information about the fun fitness programs for children at 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 over 300 locations in 28 countries. For more information, visit The Little Gym at www.TheLittleGym.com

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