Body Movin'

. May 31, 2013.

Want to encourage your child to enjoy being physical? Play to their personality. Toledo’s trainers and instructors can help children discover the fun in fitness, from
dirt bike to yoga mat.

Camryn Elster, 3, (right)
She is wearing: Leotard, shorts, tights and shoes from Dancer’s Pointe
Headband from Kids Clothesline,

For the creative, daring, artistic acrobat: BIRD’S EYE VIEW CIRCUS SPACE

Circus acts are so awe-inspiring that viewers typically respond with, “I could never do that!” or “I wish I could do that!” If your child has that daredevil spirit, then perhaps a private lesson on partner balance, aerial silks or hoop, juggling, hooping and/or stilt-walking is the perfect challenge.  

Benefits: The physical benefits depend on the type of circus act your child chooses, but in general, your child practices and perfects hand-eye coordination, poise, and balance. All of the activities are also deceptively challenging, and they require endurance and strength. Dan Sandy, physical therapist and clinical director of rehabilitation at APRN Balance and Mobility Center, as well as the father of two young girls, says the “main thing to improve would be coordination, and an improvement [in balance]. “

Classes: Bird’s Eye View Circus offers private lessons ($60/hour for one instructor) and open gyms. Children ages 9 and up generally benefit most from these circus acts, and the entire family is welcome to join in on the fun and stay in shape together (the hourly rate stays the same). Bird’s Eye View Circus Space, 2412 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo / 517-927-3098 /






Brooklyn Marrow, 5, (left)
She is wearing: Tank top and leggings from Target

For the focused, gentle introvert: YOGA

Why it’s for your child: Yoga is a noncompetitive physical activity that allows kids to focus on their own moves instead of competing against another child. Most of the class focuses on yoga poses, which allows kids to work individually and improve physical fitness, but the class also includes singing and games to gently encourage bonding and interacting.

Yoga benefits: Yoga helps kids take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and yoga at an early age has also been shown to encourage self-esteem and body awareness. Many young athletes (swimmers, runners, etc.) are even beginning to turn to yoga to enhance their performance and to guard against injury. According to Dan Sandy, physical therapist and clinical director of rehabilitation at APRN Balance and Mobility Center, yoga’s physical benefits include “improved flexibility, balance, strength, and posture. Yoga forces you to maintain certain difficult positions,
and that strengthens postural muscles.”

Classes: Harmony in Life, 5747 Main St., Sylvania / 419-517-0047 / Lotus Yoga, 3307 N. Holland Sylvania Rd. Suite 15, Toledo / 419-885-1055 / Still Waters Yoga, 8115 Monclova Rd., Monclova / 419-877-9038 / Lullaby Lane, Fallen Timbers, Maumee / 419-878-0127 /

Brynli Melchert, 4, (right)
She is wearing: Clothing from Dancer’s Pointe

For the rambunctious, active young child: TUMBLE TOTS

Why it’s for your child: Not every child, especially when young, is ready for structured lessons. If you are looking for something free-spirited for an active child, then tumbling tots fits the bill. Toddlers can jump, tumble, and swing to their hearts’ content without the commitment to a weekly/daily lesson.  

Benefits: Tumbling tots encourages young children to exercise (disguised as fun) in a padded environment. Kids can explore some of the gymnastics equipment, which will help them gain independence while safely working on coordination, flexibility, strength, and motor skills. Dan Sandy, physical therapist and clinical director of rehabilitation at APRN Balance and Mobility Center affirms that this kind of physical activity results in “improved strength, balance, coordination, and cardiovascular fitness.”

Classes: Sunrise Gymnastics, 3640 Holland Sylvania Rd., Toledo /  419-841-2902 / St. James Club, 7337 W. Bancroft, Toledo / 419-841-5597 /

Cooper Wegman, 5, (left)
He is wearing: Shirt from Kids Clothesline
(Shorts and shoes are model’s own)

For the observant outdoor explorer: TODDLER TRAILS and GEOCACHE ADVENTURES

Why it’s for your child: There is nothing like the great outdoors to enthrall the explorer in every child. If your child loves to be outside and constantly observes the world around him or her, then check out the many programs geared for children offered by Toledo Metroparks.  

Benefits: Many of the programs encourage children to be outside and interact with their natural surroundings while also remaining active. Sandy explains that this kind of trail walking improves “endurance and even balance, especially for toddlers, because kids are walking on different types of surfaces. There is also increased cognitive function and attention because you’re forcing [the kids] to focus on completing a task, and they have to really think about what they’re doing.”

Classes: The Metroparks offer numerous programs for children of all ages to investigate the world around them. Toddler Trails (ages 18 months to 3 years) is an outdoor, exploratory program for child and parent. The Kids Geocache Adventure teaches kids how to use GPS for a “fun adventure of high tech hide and seek.” Programs vary by location.




Brock Heard, 5, (right)
He is wearing: Swimwear from Kids Clothesline,

For the independent, competitive water-enthusiast: SWIM LESSONS

Why it’s for your child: Swimming is both an individual and team sport, so it’s perfect for the independent child who likes to compete on her own but still enjoys interacting with teammates. It’s also great for those who are naturally drawn to the water; swim lessons can channel that love of water into a healthy workout. Plus, you can start swimming with your baby as early as 6 months old!

Benefits: Swimming provides an exceptional cardiovascular workout with minimal impact on the joints, so it’s an excellent “lifetime” sport. Even if your child decides not to competitively pursue swimming, the sport provides strength and coordination that are beneficial in any other sport. While this may seem obvious, swim lessons also help prevent drowning, which is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is cardiovascular and pulmonary improvement with swimming, and also increased strength and stability, mainly in the neck and back.”

Classes: JCC/YMCA of Greater Toledo, locations vary / 419-729-8135 / St. James Club, 7337 W. Bancroft, Toledo / 419-841-5597 / University of Toledo, 2801 W. Bancroft St., Toledo / 419-530-3703 / Sylvania Natatorium, 5403 Silica Dr., Sylvania / 419-360-2161 /



Jett Quigg, 8, (left)
Karate uniform from Kempo Martial Arts Toledo

For the timid or action-loving child or adolescent: KARATE KIDS


Why it’s for your child: Karate allows the active child to expel excess energy, but it also gives the shy child self-confidence. Additionally, if your child is a huge Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee fan, he/she can practice karate moves in a safe environment with the guidance of an experienced teacher.  

Benefits: An obvious benefit of karate is self-defense, but along with that comes a natural self-confidence. When you give a child the tools to defend himself, he will inevitably become more confident in himself and his abilities. Martial arts also teach children respect and discipline through routine and structure, all while encouraging physical fitness, “strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.”

Classes: Kempo Martial Arts, 6801 W. Central Ave., Toledo. 419-473-1519 / Toledo Jiu Jitsu Center, 5222 Tractor Rd., Toledo / 419-779-7164 / Sylvania Family Karate, 2032 N. Holland Sylvania Rd., Toledo / 419-320-6780.




Bella Strauss, 8, (right)
Bike and helmet from Reggie’s Bike Shop,
Clothing from Dick’s Sporting Goods

For the adventurous thrill-seeker: BMX

Why it’s for your child: Nothing screams adventure like a BMX bike racing over mounds of dirt, jumping over obstacles, or sliding down railings. While this may seem like an adolescent sport, young kids — even ones who only recently learned to ride a bike — can participate. This is for the daredevil child whose parents are NOT prone to worrying, as the sport can be dangerous. But that’s the allure, right?   

Benefits: Biking is obviously cardiovascular, but riders also build muscle by pedaling and pulling/jerking the handlebars over obstacles. BMX does not have set rules, so this allows kids to be creative and find their niche within the sport. Furthermore, kids meet friends their own age who seek the same challenging and exhilarating experiences. Sandy also described a benefit of biking that many do not know: “The vestibular system is made up of the organs in the inner ear that give you your sense of balance. That type of activity [BMX biking] will train that system to work really well.”

Classes: BMX can be expensive; one must invest in a BMX bike (that must meet certain safety standards) and safety gear, pay the annual membership, and then pay for individual practice time ($5) and for each race ($10). Toledo Speedway BMX, 5639 Benmore Rd., Toledo / 419-450-9930 /




Meet the photographers

Masters of natural light photography (and quasi-children’s entertainers!) Jennifer Daher and Emily Moody captured the winners of our first-ever model casting call. Daher and Moody, who form the team behind JEM Photography, enjoyed reliving their childhood fitness routines during our shoot. “We were extremely active kids,” says Emily. “During the summer it was all about staying outside as late as possible.”

JEM Photography
5758 N. Main St., Haymarket Square, Sylvania