Organizers of the Gym Class Heroes program said the goal is to help children develop healthy lifestyle and fitness habits.
TIFFIN, Ohio – A free program at the Tiffin YMCA aims to get kids out of the house with fun exercise.
Gym heroes is held every Tuesday and Thursday until April 20 from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. and helps young people develop healthy lifestyles and exercise.
Program organizer Connor Sukel said they realized how good exercise is for the mind and body and wanted to make sure kids in the area got the same experience.
“There’s a big problem today with kids playing too much video games, watching too much TV, watching too much Tik Tok,” said instructor Oliver Kelleher. “We want them to enjoy exercise and fall in love with it.”
Sukel and Kelleher said the number of physical education classes has declined over the past decade. They’re trying to change that, not only for the health of children, but for the many benefits of exercise.
“It helps them focus more in class and things like that. It’s a huge benefit. We don’t tell them all that,” Sukel said. “All we do is bring the games and show up with a good attitude and positive energy. We pass that on to them, we pass that back, and we have a good time.”
The class begins with a warm-up and moves to the agility block. After that, there are games, followed by circuit training.
Coaches want kids to have fun, interact with other people, and have the right influence on themselves.
“When I was a little kid, I was misled and misbehaved,” Kelleher said. “Once I got into sports and exercise and training, it straightened me out. I want to do the same for these kids and get them on the right path.”
Although the program and activities are new to some children, they have already improved through encouragement.
“The first week we had a kid who was afraid to stand on one leg to keep his balance,” Sukel said. “The next week he was excited to do the same exercise because he knew he could do it. It’s the little things like this that make me happy.”
Sukel hopes to expand the program to more YMCAs and eventually schools in the area.