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kids’ fi tness


With adults, Zumba is the latest craze to hit studios nationwide. Can clubs broaden their group exercise appeal even further by embracing the new trend for kids’ classes? Abigail Harris reports


BACK TO SCHOOL F


rom the first tentative steps into specialist kids’ equipment in the early noughties to the more recent dance mat


revolution, the concept of a kids’ fitness offering has gone from an unusual extra to an integral staple in many clubs and leisure centres. But where do operators go from here? A question remains as to how they can attract more under-16s, without compromising their offering to existing members. Just as new forms of group exercise


have raised the bar for attracting – and retaining – adult members, perhaps the key is the already diverse and increasingly innovative option of kids’ group exercise. “You don’t have to persuade children to go to Alton Towers for the day; kids’ fi tness should work in exactly the same way. It needs


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to be dynamic. It needs to be loud. It needs to be cool. And that’s exactly what the new breed of group exercise classes offer,” says Marina Saunders, director of sales at ZigZag.


putting kids on the agenda Group exercise for kids is well


established. FitPro launched Fitclub in 1995, SHOKK created its first programme in 1999 and others have followed. But, says Saunders, it’s recent social changes that have catapulted kids’ group exercise programming to the top of the agenda. “We all know childhood obesity is at an all-time high and it’s no secret that the days when kids could safely play – and so exercise – outside, are sadly gone. Recent research shows that almost half of adults now believe playing outside is unsafe. Engaging


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


ZigZag Strike sessions include the chance to be awarded belts each term


children in fitness is no longer just a revenue generator; it’s a social obligation,” she says. “Getting young


people active is a huge public health priority and we’ve seen an increase in national and regional initiatives across the UK in response to this,” agrees Kieran Murphy, marketing director of SHOKK.


october 2010 © cybertrek 2010


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