We were invited to be one of the first to try a new exercise class soon to be launched in Jan 2015 aimed at 8-16 year olds in particular called ‘Active crew’. My 14 year old son decided he would give it a go to see what it was like.
We headed over to The Virgin Active Club in Acton were the launch was taking place and were lucky enough to grab a chat with the founder of ZUU Chimps, Nathan Helberg who was extremely lovely, chatty and enthusiastic about the exercises the kids were about to try. He explained how it was fun so kids didn’t realise that they were exercising and empowers them at the same time.
The class itself was broken down into several stages ranging from ‘animalistic’ style movements to coordination and agility style exercises that included the use of Sandbells and Fitlights with rest periods in between and a lot of high fiving along the way. Another element of the Active Crew is SAQ (Speed, Agility and Quickness) training, a programme that has actually been used by a variety of sports starts from Andy Murrey to the Manchester United Football Team.
At first my youngest thought the exercises were a bit weird considering they were called ‘gorilla’ and ‘bear’ and ‘iguana’ amongst others! But as the time went on and the high fiving continued he felt more relaxed within the group which is essentially one of the key characteristics of the class anyway.
As you can see by these pictures that were taken during the class all the kids were definitely engaged and focused with all the range of exercises they were asked to try. The fact that it’s non competitive meant that the ones who were shy or embarrassed at the start of the class weren’t overpowered by either louder, or stronger kids that were taking part, and this part of the class is just as important as the exercise itself. It’s fun games, that do not exclude anyone, that get 8-16year olds off their backsides, away from the technology that is taking over their lives and socialising face to face with other kids and adults in a friendly, safe environment.
When I chatted to my son afterwards he said he enjoyed it, that it was something different and that his legs had literally gone to jelly!!!
The exercise could in effect be done in the smallest of places with no real fancy equipment so could be suitable for a number of groups, for instance, we are volunteer leaders at our local Cub Scout group and some of the exercises based on animal movements would be a great activity to run for that age group. So we will be calling on my son ( as a young leader) at the group to put the kids through their paces soon!
Active Crew is currently running in 25 clubs and will be launching nationwide in Jan 2015. To find your nearest club visit www.virginactive.co.uk
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