Rick Jackson from Holtsville practices a high kick at High...

Rick Jackson from Holtsville practices a high kick at High Kick Tae Kwon Do and Martial Arts in Sayville on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Credit: Morgan Campbell

New year, new you, new fitness goals. When you’re looking for ways to perk up your exercise routine, here’s a tip: Act like a kid. Around Long Island, there are fun and challenging fitness classes where adults can master new skills doing activities traditionally reserved for kids. 

Lucasz Cerazy, who works in risk management, recently nailed a high bar flyaway dismount into a foam pit after six months of classes at Farmingdale Gymnastics Academy. “That’s the most advanced thing I can do,” says the 38-year-old East Meadow dad. He was inspired to try his hand at the sport because his toddler daughter Maya takes gymnastics.

“I noticed that I’m getting stiffer as I get older,” he says. He scheduled timeouts for gymnastics class a couple times a week. 

Here are five ways to channel your inner child for grown-up benefits.

Taekwondo : High Kick Tae Kwon Do

High Kick Tae Kwon Do and Martial Arts class bows...

High Kick Tae Kwon Do and Martial Arts class bows at the end of the class session in Sayville on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Credit: Morgan Campbell

Boosts in strength, agility, balance and coordination are some of the benefits from this martial art built around kicking and punching. In noncontact classes, you learn the ropes to various strikes and kicks. In sparring classes, where you wear protective gear, contact is made.

Rick Jackson, 39, a project manager for a financial services firm, took up taekwondo because his daughter Lilliana, 8, gets such a kick out of it. “Sometimes she’ll watch me and correct my form,” says Jackson, who looks forward each week to classes. “It’s a workout and it’s fun.”

Adult classes run 60 minutes and are held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. Monthly fee is $135 (unlimited access).

INFO 299 Raft Ave., Sayville; 631-218-8991, highkicktkd.com

Gymnastics: Farmingdale Gymnastics Academy

Coach Maryanna Dowd-Abraham, right, watches Theresa Marandino-Eugene of Manorville, 32,...

Coach Maryanna Dowd-Abraham, right, watches Theresa Marandino-Eugene of Manorville, 32, on the uneven bars during an adult gymnastics class at Farmingdale Gymnastics Academy in Farmingdale Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. Credit: Barry Sloan

This sport works balance, strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance, for starters. Kaylie Murphy, 24, a recruiter for a tech company who lives in Patchogue, dabbled in gymnastics as a kid. 

“Nothing serious or competitive,” she says. Earlier this year, after seeing a video of an adult gymnastic class, she decided to give it another go. “Uneven bars are my favorite,” she says. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done there.”

Adult classes teach beginner basics and build from there. They run one hour on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. $20 a class (no registration required for this class).

INFO 121 Carolyn Blvd., Farmingdale, 631-393-6669, fgany.rocks

Dance: HilliArts

Lisa Hopkins, in back, is the owner of HilliArts in...

Lisa Hopkins, in back, is the owner of HilliArts in Freeport and teaches dance. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

So you think you can dance? When you get busy doing ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, tap, Afro Dance you get a great workout – improving strength, flexibility, balance and more. 

“TikTok has really boosted interest in dance. About half my adult students are dance parents,” says studio owner and instructor Lisa Hopkins, 49, a former professional dancer who has a day job as a litigation adjuster for an insurance company. “The other half just had a desire to dance.”  

Adult classes are on Sundays at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. They are broken down into three sections: strength and conditioning; how to executive moves; learning choreography. Classes are $25. 

INFO 27 Hanse Ave., Freeport, 516-800-6408, hilliarts.com

Swimming: Saf-T-Swim

Saf-T-Swim offers an adult group swimming lesson program.

Saf-T-Swim offers an adult group swimming lesson program. Credit: Streamline Brands/Daniel Milchev

Everybody in, the water’s fine – and warm at 88 degrees. Regardless of your age, it’s never too late to learn how to swim. That’s the motto of Saf-T-Swim. Absolute beginners can learn the basics to be safe and confident in the water and more experienced swimmers can refine strokes and breathing techniques and improve stamina.

Many beginners “are parents who have kids and want to learn to swim for their own benefit as well as their child’s,” according to Robert Hazen, district manager at Saf-T-Swim and water-safety advocate. 

Group adult classes of up to three students are 30 minutes and cost $34. One-on-one classes are around $65. Preregisteration recommended. 

INFO Locations in Bellmore, Bohemia, Commack, Coram, Deer Park, Garden City, Levittown, Melville, Smithtown, New Hyde Park, Oceanside, Riverhead; saf-t-swim.com

Movement: Loco Motion New York

Loco Motion New York owner Kevin Neglia, left, guides a...

Loco Motion New York owner Kevin Neglia, left, guides a gym member. Credit: Loco Motion New York /James Morano

“As we age, we tend to move less and less. But when you watch kids they turn every situation into a chance to move,” says Kevin Neglia, owner of Loco Motion New York. “A curb is something to balance on. A ledge is there to climb.” 

Neglia’s airy studio uses physical practices and tools from various disciplines – martial arts, gymnastics, weightlifting, dance, to name a few. What ties them all together is the perspective of movement. Students emerge, he says, with greater body awareness and expressiveness.

Classes are challenging, acknowledges allergist Greg Puglisi, 48, a longtime student from Dix Hills who’s more agile and stronger since going Loco. “Initially, you’ll feel clumsy and clunky,” he says. “In time, you see the progress.” That’s moving in the right direction. Memberships start at $160 a month (2 classes per week). 

INFO 1740 E. Jericho Tpke., Huntington, 631-356-3324, locomotionnewyork.com

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