Health & Wellness: Fitness Programs For Kids

Pop Fit Kids

The family that prioritizes appropriate regular exercise and physical fitness together stays happy and healthy together! With mom and dad also working out, one way to incorporate fitness into a child’s routine is to find off-shoots of adult fitness trends (think Zumba, Crossfit, and yoga, for starters) that have been modified for kiddos. Here are 12 places in the city that will get your kid moving and grooving.

212 Crossfit: This Crossfit program for kids takes place at one of the most respected and popular Crossfit gyms in the city. 212 Crossfit focuses on improving performance in ten basic fitness domains, including stamina, strength, and speed. The children’s programs are fun and engaging, and the workouts are based on a child’s individual weight. The coaches come from varied athletic backgrounds (gymnastics, lifting, swimming, etc.) but all are experts in fitness and experienced in Crossfit. See their website for class schedules.

Asphalt Green: Asphalt Green, a program dedicated to improving physical fitness, has options beyond the typical youth sports of baseball, basketball, or soccer. If your child likes playing a little bit of everything, give their triathlon classes a try. They can work in a group or individually in swimming, cycling, and long-distance running. If competition isn’t their thing, they also offer Teen Fitness classes that feature cardio kickboxing and lifting. Finally, Pilates is a fantastic choice for the quieter tween or teen. Class leaders are available in a variety of different Pilates classes and private instructors are there for one-on-one work.

Brooklyn Boulders: Rock-climbing (otherwise known as bouldering) is a great cardio exercise that also improves balance, spatial awareness, and motor skills. Brooklyn Boulders in DUMBO is a well-known rock-climbing center and they have special classes for ages 5-12. The instructor-to-student ratio is 1:5, so every child is safe and gets the attention they need to thrive. Rock-climbing is something parents and children can do together both indoors and out.

Cross Trainers at Gymtime Rhythm & Glues: Another local Crossfit program for tots is called Cross Trainers and it’s offered by Gymtime. Kids ages 16 months to 2.11 years can get a good workout in a safe environment. All equipment is heavily padded so bumped heads and banged elbows won’t be an issue. They work with gymnastics equipment and are supervised by a coach certified by USA Gymnastics. Schedules are seasonal with extra classes during the summer.

EVF Performance: Another Crossfit program for children (they have offerings for ages 5-17), EVF focuses on getting kids interested in physical fitness early. It doesn’t matter if your child can run a mile or do 50 pushups, EVF’s fundamental program can work for them with only adjustments for intensity and stamina. Basic exercises, such as lunges and squats, are taught to all ages. The kid’s program runs on 16-week schedules, one during the fall (September to January) and the other in the spring (January to June).

Gantry Kids: Gantry Kids, just over the East River in Long Island City, Queens, is a gym focused on children and their fitness. They have three different programs based on age. Pre-Kids, for ages 3-5, is about beginning the habits of exercise, with a focus on increasing balance, coordination and development while the kids play and have fun with their friends. Kids, ages 6-11, is more advanced and more nuanced with a focus on developing motor and physical skills while also encouraging self-confidence and assertiveness. The Pre-Teen and Teen group, ages 12-15, is a more mature program, in which the teens progress through a series of workouts, and includes an important group component that develops team work, accountability and responsibility. They also offer classes for adults so both kids and parents can work up a sweat.

Lyons Den Power Cubs: Yogi-mamas likely know all about Lyons Den Power Yoga—and now they can get their little ones in on the experience. Venture into the Lyons Den in TriBeCa for Power Cubs, the prestigious studio’s 12-week yoga and mindfulness program for kids! This series is for children ages 3-5 and 6-9 years. Using games, songs, stories, and animated poses, Power Cubs makes yoga playful! The program distills the Baptiste-style yoga principles of a potent physical practice, meditation, and self-inquiry and makes them totally kid-friendly! During class, kids will have the opportunity to exercise their muscles and their creativity as they move, sing, and play. Each class begins with an “Om Song” and ends with a “Namaste Song.” Classes will incorporate stretching and breathing exercises to teach children healthy body-awareness and relaxation techniques.

Gantry Kids

Karma Kids Yoga: Karma Kids Yoga offers a fun and creative approach for infants through teenagers. Magical yoga adventures with puppets, songs, stories, and games keep young kids engaged; classes for older kids include simple and challenging poses for increasing strength, coordination, balance, focus, and confidence. Included are kid-friendly music, fun yoga games, and relaxation time with foot rubs. Pre-and post-natal yoga, CircusYoga, and private sessions are also available.

New York Capoeira Center: One of the hottest martial arts crazes on the fitness scene is Capoeira, a Brazilian style that focuses on technique, focus, and control and looks like a flowing dance. Adults are trying it out, and now there is a way for kids as well. The center provides afterschool classes for children and your first one is free! The staff has experience working in New York City schools and is supportive and encouraging.

PopFit Kids: With locations throughout the city, PopFit Kids is a new-age workout based on the idea of Fun-ctional Fitness: Fun workouts that prepare you for everyday activities in organized sports or just an active lifestyle. The focus is on being able to work your body any time and any place—no need for heavy weights or fancy machinery. Parents can get a quick workout in while their child is in the bath, or your children can get their body moving if mom or dad is on the phone. The activities are safely done under heavy supervision and with reduced chance of injury because it’s based on the child’s own body and size. Pop Fit trainers aim to help the children build confidence and teamwork abilities while starting a permanent love for movement and exercise.

Warrior Fitness Boot Camp: Boot camp conjures images of drill sergeants and push-ups in the mud, but Warrior Fitness is a high-energy workout that focuses on positive attitudes towards physical fitness. Ages 7-16 are welcome in the youth classes, and they have adult classes for mom and dad. This is a good fit for older kids trying to reach their next level of fitness, or younger children being introduced to exercise and creating an appreciation for it for the rest of their lives. The instructors are thoroughly trained so the exercises are safe and effective regardless of your child’s fitness level. They have Manhattan and Brooklyn locations.

Zumbatomics at the YMCA NYC: Zumba is a hot trend that combines dance and cardio in to a great workout. YMCAs all over the city have started Zumbatonics, a Zumba class aimed at kids who need to get up and move! For ages 4-12, the classes are high-energy and fast-paced with child-appropriate routines and music of every genre, from hip hop to reggaeton to cumbia. Your child will go home with memories of fun dancing in their head, and might plop right to sleep afterward.