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Tips For Keeping Your Kids Active From A Philadelphia Fitness Professional

February 16, 2013 7:00 AM

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(credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Video games may tempt your kids this winter, but keep them active with tips from Philadelphia area fitness professional Christine Gallagher. Gallagher recommends the following activities, which include the health related fitness components that parents are concerned with, including cardio respiratory endurance, muscular endurance, strength and flexibility.
Blue Cross RiverRink
201 A Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 925-7465
www.riverrink.com

This Penn’s Landing icon is open seven days a week (including holidays) during the winter season and offers open skate times, lessons and birthday parties. Regardless of your ability, this venue offers something for everyone. Just keep in mind that the rink is outdoors, so dress in layers and bring an extra pair of gloves.

Tip from Gallagher: Future Olympic hopefuls and fans alike can get ready for Sochi Russia in 2014 while enjoying lessons or open skating at this Olympic-sized skating rink. You’ll get all the excellent cardio, muscular, strength, endurance, and balance benefits ice skating provides.

Related: Top Places For Outdoor Winter Activities In Philadelphia

Kehler’s Gymnastics And Kids Fun Factory
680 Parkway Drive
Broomall, PA 19008
(610) 359-9999
www.mykidsgym.com

Kehler’s offers gymnastics classes for every level and ability. Preschoolers are introduced to gymnastics with fun games and innovative activities developed by staff, many of whom hold degrees in child psychology and education in addition to extensive gymnastics experience. For elementary through high school students, the developmental program separates classes by grade level for one hour programs to let children be with peers and friends, but in class they are divided by ability. The center offers programs for all ages and abilities, including specialized programming for children with special needs.

Tip from Gallagher: Gymnastics fans and future Olympic hopefuls alike will build confidence and have fun while enjoying the tremendous fitness benefits gymnastics provides, including strength, coordination, flexibility, and cardio.

Upper Main Line YMCA
1416 Berwyn-Paoli Road
Berwyn, PA 19312
(610) 647-9622
www.umly.org

For many kids and their parents, the Y is the starting point for learning about developing healthy habits as well as getting and staying active. In addition to improving physical health, children will gain the confidence that comes from building positive relationships, teamwork and sportsmanship. The Y offers fitness programming for all ages, with many programs designed just for kids. The Upper Main Line YMCA has one of the area’s leading aquatic programs, with swim classes for all ages, recreational swim times, and a competitive swim program that trains novice to national level athletes.

Tip from Gallagher: Winter is a great time to get kids involved in swimming. Check out a local YMCA for classes and swim team programs like the one at the Upper Main Line YMCA, where swimmers develop skills and values they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Not only is swimming a fantastic aerobic exercise, adds Gallagher, it doesn’t negatively impact your child’s joints.

Related: Top Zumba Studios In Philadelphia

Thunderbird Lanes
1130 York Road
Willow Grove, PA 19090
(215) 659-1715
www.phillybowl.com

With locations in Willow Grove, Warminster and Northeast Philly, Thunderbird Lanes provides a kid-friendly environment that will get your child away from the TV this winter. Not only is bowling a great social activity, it’s a way for your child to get exercise. Thunderbird Lanes provides bowling instruction for kids through its USBC Sanctioned Youth program. In addition to classes, there are bowling clubs and open bowling times, including glo-bowling complete with DJ.

Tip from Gallagher: Kids can develop muscle growth as well as flexibility with bowling and in addition to burning lots of calories, children will be able to challenge their balance and hand/eye coordination.

Game Ready!
319 Westtown Road
West Chester, PA 19382
(484) 887-0764
www.gamereadypa.com

Game Ready gives developing hitters a live-at-bat experience with pitching machine technology that changes pitch tempo and curve. Whether training for softball or baseball, kids learn focus and develop pitch recognition skills. With practice hitting curve balls, change-ups and sliders, children will gain confidence while improving technique. This program is for players of all levels.

Tip from Gallagher: Batting cages provide kids who play softball and baseball the opportunity to train through the winter months, which not only helps improve their skills but also provides conditioning and strength important for injury prevention.

About Christine Gallagher

Christine Gallagher holds specialty certifications in Kids Fitness Instruction and programming and is an AFAA and ACE certified group exercise and dance instructor, with 22 specialized certifications. Gallagher managed fitness and dance programs for the YMCA and is the owner and creator of Red Hot Dance Fitness, a new dance based fitness program that serves the Greater Philadelphia area.

Red Hot Dance Fitness
2307 Chestnut St. #30413
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 825-7433
www.redhotdancefitness.com

Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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