Monday, June 23, 2008

Junior Workouts - More Kids Turning To Gyms To Shape Up

“Just four months ago, Alex Rummel could barely keep up in gym class. ‘It was anything. If I was hanging out with friends walking down the street, I would be behind,’ said the 12-year-old who lives with his parents in Columbus and Minerva Park. With their help, he found a kids' boot camp for 8- to 13-year-olds at Metro Fitness in Worthington. He also works with a personal trainer. ‘I'm starting to feel better . . . and I can keep up with all of my friends,’ Alex said between swigs of water after a weekly aerobics class. ‘It's a good feeling.’ Alex isn't alone in his desire to be fit. The younger-than-18 set is the second-fastest-growing demographic for gym membership, said Rosemary Lavery of the Boston-based International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, which tracks industry data. The number of fitness-club members ages 6 to 17 more than tripled between 1987 and 2006. ‘I think kids aren't always interested in a sports program, and no one plays in the street anymore,’ said Michael Dyer, founder of Lifestyle Family Fitness, based in Lakeland, Fla. ’So where does a teenager come for exercise these days? The fitness center.’”

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