Ever since I got news from my doctor that my cholesterol level was high, I started eating better and working out daily at the gym. One thing I’ve noticed is that I rarely see young people sweating it out there too.
After making a few phone calls to area gyms, I found that many allow kids — typically 13 and older — to join if a parent or guardian gives them written permission. But, many gyms locally aren’t actively recruiting teens.
One exception that I found was the Jewish Community Center, or JCC. I spoke with Larry Mestel, senior director of membership and wellness, and while they are typical in some ways — allowing kids 14 and older to use the gym and children 11 through 13 after they take a training program –they also are decidedly different and proactive when it comes to kids’ fitness.
Their latest big news is that they installed a Sportwall this past week. Mestel noted that this was made possible by a grant from Jewish Hospital.
The Sportwall is an active exercise system designed by Xer Games, the same company that bought out Dance Dance Revolution. The idea is to get inactive kids active.
“We’re really the first one in the area to get one,” said Mestel.
The system has 64 different games that can be programmed into it.
“It’s really focused on these elementary school kids and middle school kids who are maybe not into sports anymore,” Mestel said. “It’s a non-threatening way to get them up and moving.”