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Fri, May 14, 2010
The New Paper
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No time, so baby goes to boot camp

THEIR parents have no time for them, so some Australian tots are packed off to baby boot camps.

Run by fitness companies in Victoria, these camps offer exercise classes to two-year-olds, reported The Herald Sun.

Some of the exercises are based on military training and are meant to boost strength and motor reflexes.

One company, 3E Fitness, offers a “Little Legends” plan for children aged two to five years.

The programme guarantees the tots will sweat it out in 45-minute sessions that include games, circuits and activities.

Ms Lauren Gilcrist, who runs 3E Fitness, says such programmes are popular with many parents as they have no time to play with their children and are unwilling to let them play on their own.

She said: “It’s a convenience for them, because these days, everyone’s time-poor.

“When we were kids, we’d play out the front, then at 5.30pm, Mum would say ‘come in’ and we’d already been running around for an hour and a half. That just doesn’t happen any more.”

The gym also offers personal training for children as young as nine.

These one-on-one sessions are popular with overweight children and pre-teens who want to hone their athletic ability.

Ms Gilcrist said: “Back then, if you had the genes and were lucky it was great – but now, they can come and do core strength work.”

Another company, Original Bootcamp, offers military-based camps for children as young as four.

Improve stamina

The camps are planned to improve the children’s motor reflexes, cardio-vascular fitness, strength, stamina and body fat percentage.
Original Bootcamp’s founder, Chief Brabon, described the sessions as the contemporary equivalent of the scout movement or family camping trips.

He said: “We used to do things with our parents – we’d go camping, and it was nothing to go walking along the coast for an hour and a half.

“Parents don’t do that now.”

But not everyone is keen on toddlers going for such activities.

Ms Julie Gale, from the lobby group Kids Free 2B Kids, said these children’s parents are just taking the easy way out.

She said: “If we’re going to have kids, it’s our responsibility to feed them well and let them run around a bit, and say ‘no’ to too much screen time.

“The only ‘booting’ they need is out into the backyard and into the parks.”

Ms Gale also said that structured exercise sessions may encourage the young ones to be preoccupied with their bodies.
She said: “They should be oblivious to their bodies.

“Their bodies are just a vehicle for them to grow – have fun, play.”

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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