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Kids, too, are joining the fitness routine

Carolyn Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KIDDIE GYMS may soon become the new fad. After all, the children will need a place to train when Kids Fitness is introduced as a new category at the 34th Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships.

But before the grand introduction, there will be a Kids Fitness Exhibition among the weight and fitness classes at the National Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships, this Saturday, July 15, at the Stephanie Hall Auditorium (Holy Childhood High School), Kingston 10.

This championship will serve as the culmination of all national championships (junior, fitness and senior) and prep for the Caribbean Championships which will run from September 28 to October 1.

Jamaica have been given the mandate to host the competition and introduce kids fitness, which will be done as an exhibition at the championships.

According Carol Taylor, first vice-president, director of Public Affairs at the Jamaica Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Association, they have had ongoing kids fitness competitions and demonstrations.


To her knowledge, Venezuela is the only other country within the region that has this category in their programme.

It has been going on there for about four years in the 5-7, 8-10 and 11-13 age categories.

But how do children fit in a sport that seems to be all about pumping iron?

"The kids can do strength, agility and flexibility movements in combination with gymnastics and overall fitness," Taylor explained to The Gleaner. "They are judged on presentation, technicality, flexibility, resistance and agility."

While a large part of adult fitness and bodybuilding has to do with weight training, the children do more workouts.

"Any form of weights they will be using is miniature stuff," Taylor pointed out.

Instead, kids fitness involves "Exercise classes, aerobics, entails other sports they do, running, swimming, tennis, but it involves a lot of stretching for flexibility."

The children's programme was developed to introduce the young ones to the sport at an early age and also to encourage a lifestyle of fitness.

"Today's world depends on fitness and from you get that child in a fitness lifestyle that child will have a positive outlook on life, a positive alternative. It holds them and shapes them from that tender age until they get to adolescence and adulthood," Taylor said.


Added to this, the fitness training children receive helps them in any sporting activity they pursue. Another incentive, Taylor said, is for sponsors who could develop a niche market for children's products.

When asked about the response to the programme, Taylor laughed and simply said: "Even if we didn't have any adults, we would have a full house just the same. They are remarkable."

The next step, she said, is to introduce the programme in schools - a venture the association has already started.