New fitness DVDs for kids
Thanks to a new slate of fitness DVDs, today's kids are moving about magical make-believe kingdoms, turning into mountains, pretending to be jungle animals -- and they're loving it. The options couldn't come at a better time -- childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, with nearly one out of every five kids ages 6 to 11 labeled obese, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here's a sampling of what's available to help keep your child active. --Danielle Braff
"Storyland Yoga", ages 3-8
Your child will be taken on a journey where he'll need to move like a crocodile, stand like an alligator and rub sunscreen all over his body. And, unbeknownst to him, he'll be doing plenty of yoga poses during this magical story. The story is told by a male narrator. Your child can follow the other children's moves when they bend, twist and turn to act out the adventure.
Activity level: It's constant slow movement, which will keep your child mildly active. ($14.99; amazon.com)
"YOGA WITH PHONICS", ages 3-5
The class is actually taught completely by kids, and they match an animal to each letter of the alphabet. The kids create a yoga-like movement to correspond to the animal. So for the letter "G," the animal is giraffe. The kids demonstrate how to stand like a giraffe.
Activity level: At no point will your child be out of breath, but this will keep kids moving for about half an hour. There is very light strength training and balance involved. ($20; littlesensei.com)
"Workout Kids", boys ages 5-12
Taught by 10-year-old C.J. Senter, this is more of a traditional workout video. He shows your child how to run in place and do jump ropes without the rope. It's a basic class, but he makes it fun with his beat-y music and his backup support (other kids).
Activity level: It will keep your child jumping, hopping and running pretty much the entire time. ($15; workoutkid.com)
"Move With Me: The Birthday Gift", ages 3-7
The class is taught in what looks to be an actual preschool classroom with a teacher and a bunch of young children. It's obvious the teacher knows this age group very well and she's able to connect to her audience by telling a story. The children act out parts of the story and use their arms to pretend to lift a rock, become a squirrel and take on other adventures. Throughout the DVD, the children are reminded to drink lots of water, to eat their fruits and vegetables and to hug themselves whenever they're sad or angry.
Activity level: This isn't going to get anyone's little heart racing, but it will have your child moving more than if he or she had been simply watching TV. ($24.95; move-with-me.com)
"Dance Moves", girls ages 12 and up
This is a very basic dance class by Gina Guddat, a certified personal trainer, and a bunch of teenage girls. The steps are easy to learn and simple to remember. While better music would improve the DVD (currently, the music consists of dance beats, but actual songs may be more fun), it's a good workout.
Activity level: It will get your teen's heart rate up, but not so high that she will need to towel off when she's done. Think fun dance exercise, not spin class activity levels. ($10; walmart.com)