Thursday, October 1, 2009

The M&M diet: building self-esteem through music and movement. (includes related article) (7th Annual Youth Fitness Section). USA, LLC

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Kids love music. Kids love to move. Put music, motion and kids together, and you create a positive energy. Encouraging learning and physical fitness, it lets children find pride and joy in accomplishments that are truly their own.

That's the philosophy of Robin Wes, musician and owner of the Seattle-based Little Gym International, Inc., which now has more than 30 franchises nationwide. The Little Gym program teaches motor, social and perceptual skills that assist children in math, reading, colors, body awareness and listening.

"As many as 50% of our children are not getting enough exercise to develop heart and lungs," says Wes. "And 33% of school-aged boys and 50% of girls cannot run a mile in less than 10 minutes. When children are given the right amount of structure and instrution, plenty of encouragement, wide open gym space and some toe-tapping, hand-clapping music, they start to move. Gradually they lose inhibitions and forget their limitations, real or imagined.

"You can't just talk to kids about music and physical fitness. They have to experience it," says Wes. "Once they do, they'll discover how good they can feel-physically and emotionally. And they'll learn the power to feel that way is always within themselves."

In 1978 Wes combined his love for music with his formal training in physical education. He opened the first Little Gym as an exercise and motor development center for children ages four months to 12 years old.

Music has been an integral part of Little Gym since its beginning. The Little Gym Record Company has produced four original record albums aimed at getting kids up and moving with messages to build self-esteem, love and friendship. Whether it's cartwheels, handstands, monkey-jumps, aerobics or walking along the balance beam, at the Little Gym, it's all done to music.

"These programs are not geared for developing champions or super jocks by starting them off as infants," says Wes. "The goal is to make children and parents aware of the tremendous benefits and joy that can be attained through activities and gymnastics.

"Child fitness should not be measured in terms of flexibility, strength or endurance, which is how we measure adult fitness," he adds. "Motor skills and self-esteem are the most important things to start with. And the younger children are when they learn the coordination, muscle toning and fun that comes with exercise and sports, the better prepared they will be for life."

The Little Gym is now offering a series of videotapes--three for children and one for parents. Each child's video includes six activity songs, special activities and specific positive esteem-building messages. The parent's video shows how to help children do age-appropriate activities to become more fit. The package also includes two audio cassettes, songbook, parent handbook, growth chart poster, picture frame, fitness award and caring parent coupons.

Source Citation:Foreman, Andrea. "The M&M diet: building self-esteem through music and movement." American Fitness 11.n4 (July-August 1993): 46(2). Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 1 Oct. 2009

Gale Document Number:A13240303

Disclaimer:This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.

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