By Ivan Pereira
Exercising and staying fit may not be the most popular activity for kids compared to watching TV or playing video games, according to Maria L. Borrero-Rice, but the mother of two said that with the right program fitness can be fun.
Borrero-Rice has been using this idea at her MyGym branch location in Fresh Meadows, where she not only offers parents a place where their children can have a fun work out, but also a chance to enhance their social skills.
“It’s not just getting them fit, it’s building a child’s awareness early to the world of fitness. It builds their motor skills, their confidence and their athletics,” the Long Island resident said.
The gym, at 176-60 Union Tnpk., is open seven days a week and caters to children from 7 months to 13 years old. For her younger members, Borrero-Rice offers several classes during the weekdays that combine exercises with fun games that the kids participate in each other.
“They have games and activities that are centered around gymnastics. They get a fitness workout while they are playing,” she said.
Older children and pre-teens can take more advance exercise lessons that aim to get them into better shape, according to Borrero-Rice. One of the most popular activities is the kickboxing cardio class taught by Lauren Vigilante, a St. John’s University student, the owner said.
“She does kickboxing moves, they do a lot of cardiovascular moves and relays,” Borrero-Rice said.
On weekends, the gym is open for parties, and in addition to birthday cake and pizza, kids also get an athletic lesson. Teachers give the children special party games that focus on improving their cardiovascular and gymnastic skills, according to the owner.
“When a child is in here, they are not feeling they are working out. They are dancing, they are on swings, they are doing rides,” she said.
Borrero-Rice, who has a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, had been working as a sales representative for various companies 15 years before she decided to open up her own MyGym branch in October 2006. She said that having her two children was the major reason she decided to launch the branch of the nationwide chain, as well as fight childhood obesity.
“It just made sense to have a fitness facility during the week and during the weekend have the parties,” Borrero-Rice said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.