Archive for Monday, February 6, 2012

Infants, toddlers join parents for Basehor-Linwood workout classes

Sarah Jump of Basehor lifts her 17-month-old son Ethan above her head during the "walkers" portion of the Basehor-Linwood Parents as Teachers workout Friday at Basehor Elementary School.

Sarah Jump of Basehor lifts her 17-month-old son Ethan above her head during the "walkers" portion of the Basehor-Linwood Parents as Teachers workout Friday at Basehor Elementary School.

February 6, 2012

Fitness and nutrition classes

• Fun and fitness classes: Feb. 17 and 24 in the Basehor Elementary School gym; “non-walkers” class from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., “walkers” from 10:10 to 10:40 a.m. Open to parents or guardians of children 3 years old or younger, but older siblings can come, too.

• Nutrition classes: Choose My Plate, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 23; Help for Picky Eaters, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 1, both at Basehor Elementary. Includes food samples for parents and children. Open to parents of infants, toddlers or preschool- or elementary-aged children. Daycare provided.

• Sponsored by Basehor-Linwood Parents as Teachers, with a grant from the Kansas Parents as Teachers Association.

Jana Deters twisted her torso, shifted her weight from her left leg to her right and back again, and performed squats as her workout leader called out instructions.

As she completed each repetition, she held in her arms a 24-pound weight: her 9-month-old son Colton, who occasionally smiled or giggled.

Deters, of Basehor, was in the gymnasium at Basehor Elementary School Friday morning for the first of three Fun and Fitness workout classes for parents and their infants or toddlers, sponsored by the Basehor-Linwood Parents as Teachers program.

On Friday, Basehor fitness instructor Jen Penegar led a group of women in a dance-themed workout, all the while using a stuffed Elmo doll to demonstrate how they could include their small children. They lifted their babies and toddlers above their heads, held them as they swung their hips and shuffled their feet, or simply let the tots dance or wiggle alongside them when the parents' arms got too tired.

Deters' two children often join her in a stroller when she goes running, she said, but the class Friday opened her eyes to other ways she could include them in her exercise routine.

“I didn't realize I could squat with him,” Deters said of Colton, who was all smiles as his mom swung and dipped him during the class.

The idea behind the classes, Penegar said, is to give parents a chance to work out in a social setting while also setting an example for their children.

“For them to understand exercise is important at a young age,” Penegar said.

Janet Shultz of Basehor said she appreciated the opportunity to learn how to get her 2-year-old daughter Abby involved in a workout.

“Otherwise, it doesn't really happen too much,” Shultz said.

After Friday's workout, the following two Parents as Teachers fitness classes, on the mornings of Feb. 17 and 24, will feature yoga and a more traditional exercise circuit. The groups are funded by a grant from the Kansas Parents as Teachers Association, which will also go toward two evening nutrition classes for parents of young children, Feb. 23 and March 1 at BES.

The first class will focus on the federal “Choose My Plate” diet recommendations, which replaced the old “food pyramid.” The second will offer tips for dealing with picky eaters.

As childhood obesity increases in frequency in the United States, Basehor-Linwood Parents as Teachers coordinator Jacki Himpel said she hoped the programs would encourage healthier diet and exercise habits for families.

With the fitness classes, Penegar said she aimed to convince the young children that exercise can feel like a game. Yoga instructions, for example, might include “stand like a tree” or “look like a goose.”

“We're not going to do 100 jumping jacks,” Penegar said.

Of course, the classes also give parents chances to fit in a workout — an intense one, Michele Grantham said after Friday's session.

“I thought it was going to be a workout for them,” Grantham said of her two young boys, “but it was a workout for me.”

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