Getting a jump on kids’ fitness

Spotlight on the gym that’s specially designed just for youngsters Discuss this article

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Spotlight on the gym that’s specially designed just for youngsters.

A combination of our scorching weather and an ever greater childhood obsession with gadgets, from the latest video game to the omnipresent goggle box, is leading to an epidemic of childhood obesity – that’s right, we’re breeding a new generation of fatties!

According to the World Health Organisation, the rate of childhood obesity has tripled since 1966. It also says 80 percent of obese children will carry that trend into adulthood.

Obese children see higher incidences of type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea, hypertension and poor self-esteem.

Breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar and many children survive on a diet low in nutrition and heavy on fast food. Physical education programmes in schools have been pushed aside to make room for more academic classes, so what’s the answer?

For many of us, our own formative years will have been spent climbing trees and playing in the sunshine. But when it’s 40 degrees-plus outside, it’s hard, not to mention potentially dangerous, to tell the kids to just get out there and do things.

Faced with this dilemma, parents Nofa Hamza and husband Othman Janahi came up with the idea for Jump Gym, a fully-fledged gym dedicated for kids between the ages of five and 13.

Nofa said: ‘This idea was developed when we saw the necessity for children to remove their focus from sitting behind TVs and video games and junk food – which is the main reason behind Bahrain’s 69 percent obesity level – to a more active and healthy way of having fun.

‘Children in that age group lack the ability to enroll in a proper adult gym and most gym facilities in the kingdom lack proper equipment, machines or even exercise programmes for children.’

With the support of the Supreme Council for Women, Bahrain Development Bank and Riyadat Mall, they decided to set up their own purpose-built kids’ fitness centre with specially adapted machines made to appeal to a younger audience.

Nofa added: ‘Our machines come with inbuilt safety features such as seats with an ergonomic back and sensors to ensure the correct posture, adjustable seats to accommodate any build and exercise counter displays which allow the child to interact with the machine and correct the exercise if it is not being properly done. Also our coaches are Bahrainis who are highly qualified and have full knowledge of children’s body structure and bones and are fully aware of their needs.’

Besides the gym there are also classes such as Zumba, Muay Thai, Team Awesome (aerobics), yoga and, coming soon, parkour all of which are specially tailored to meet kids’ needs and are suitable for helping muscle development in a fun way.

Young members are encouraged to get active outside the gym too by joining in community public activities such as the scout campus for GCC which was organised by the Ministry of Education and the walkathon at Bahrain Polytechnic University.

And it’s not just for chubby children, Nofa’s quick to point out that clients come from a wide mix of communities and all are welcome whether they need to lose weight or just want to join in, stay fit and have fun.
Opening daily 4pm-8pm, also 9am-noon Sat. Summer opening hours will extent to mornings every day. Membership BD90/three months. Classes BD10. Call (77 332 233).

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

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