Keeping young kids fit and healthy

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Making sure your kids get some exercise every day isn't just about keeping their bodies healthy. It's about keeping their minds healthy, too.

On Thursday's Good Morning Arizona, Heidi Goitia visited "My Gym" in Ahwatukee, to bring us some ideas of how to make fitness fun for the whole family.

My Gym owner Mallory Benedict has made it her life's mission to help kids keep active and instill a love of fitness in them at an early age.

Mallory has a deep understanding of the importance of fitness in a child's life. When she was in high school, she was a competitive swimmer. "It definitely helped me focus, set goals and time management," enthused Mallory.

Having received her degree in physical education from SUNY Cortland, Mallory then spent  six years teaching elementary school (two of which were spent teaching physical education).

These days, the happy new mom co-owns the My Gym Children's Fitness Center in Phoenix with her husband. She has made a living out of her two loves: fitness and kids.

Mallory (or "Miss Mallory," as the kids in the gym call her) tries to impart passion for exercise to the little ones at her gym. And as childhood obesity rates rise at an alarming rate, she urges parents to be aware of the risks of not eating right and remaining inactive.

She believes it's also important to advise parents to be good role models and stay healthy themselves. She stresses that a love of exercise should remain intact throughout life as long as you encourage it as part of a child's normal routine.

Mallory has some suggestions about how to make exercise fun for kids and how physical fitness can boost self-esteem in children. The trick is to let kids play games and not even realize they're exercising:
- Fun hanging tricks
- Swinging from ring to ring
- Working on a double trapeze 
- Tumbling skills
- Fun group activities like a bubble storm or dancing game

My Gym Children's Fitness Center
4142 E. Chandler Blvd. Suite 104
Phoenix, AZ 85048
Gym's website:
Gym's phone: 480-940-4967