Gaining weight is something that many of us have dealt with at one point or another.  Whether attempting to lose the COVID 15 or weight after the holidays, we adults have most likely thought about weight gain/loss during some time in our lives. However, for most of us, it was not something we noticed in our children.  Sure we’d see them grow and change during the natural developmental periods, but for me, rapid weight gain was not something I paid attention to until COVID hit.  Suddenly, sports and activities came to a halt, parks closed down for a spell, and we found our kids (and ourselves) sitting on the couch behind screens much more than we would’ve ever imagined during pre-pandemic life.

A recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at a cohort of people ages 2-19 and found that “ the rate of body mass index (BMI) increase approximately doubled during the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period.” The study suggests that many factors contributed to accelerated weight gain in children, including but not limited to “increased stress, irregular mealtimes, less access to nutritious foods, increased screen time, and fewer options for physical activity.”

Though the statistics are alarming, there’s still time to reset as a family and get back on track to a healthy lifestyle.  Be sure to make it a family affair as you don’t want to single out any one person or focus on the weight itself. Doing so could have a negative impact on your child’s body image; instead, focus on healthy behaviors, including more structured mealtimes and less all-day snacking.  If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s pediatrician with specific questions, as they’re sure to have some tips and suggestions.   

In conjunction with healthy eating habits, physical activity is extremely important in developing strong, healthy bodies. Below you’ll find some local gyms that are open, with safety measures in place, to allow kids (and parents) to get active!

Skyhook Ninja Fitness

Skyhook Ninja Fitness, located in Tigard, brings high-quality, professional American Ninja Warrior-style training to Portland and the surrounding areas. They offer Little Ninja classes for ages 3-5,  Kids classes for ages 6-14, and adult classes for ages 14+. They call themselves a One-Stop-Shop for fun, functional fitness for all! If you’d like to help build up the excitement before going to the gym, then schedule a family movie night and watch an episode or two of American Ninja Warrior.  After we watch this show, my kids almost always try to make up some sort of course to complete and compete with one another.   

CrossFit SW Beaverton

CrossFit SW Beaverton is a strength and conditioning gym that offers group classes taught by fitness professionals.  CrossFit itself is a strength and conditioning workout made up of functional movement (such as squatting, pushing, etc.) performed at a high level of intensity.  At CrossFit SW Beaverton, you will be coached through unique and structured workouts designed to get you in shape fast.  They have an amazing Kid Fit program, a strength and conditioning program designed for kids and teenagers to help them develop a lifelong love of fitness.  They offer a free class as well, so you can give it a try and see if it’s a good fit for you and your family.

My Gym

My Gym has many locations globally, but locally you’ll find them in both Happy Valley and Sherwood, Oregon.  When creating My Gym, the goal was to “create an environment where children feel loved and supported so their self-esteem and confidence can flourish.” The company has been around for over 35 years and is consistently ranked the #1 children’s program worldwide.  They offer a variety of programs designed to get kids moving in a fun, non-competitive environment.  One of the classes I’d like to highlight is the My Gym in the Park session.  My Gym has partnered with Happy Valley Parks and Recreation to offer sessions at Happy Valley park from mid-March through mid-October.  These programs are designed to increase your child’s strength, flexibility, and agility through relays, basic gymnastics, and sports skills.  They also offer camps, birthday parties, and Parents’ Night Out events.  They even offer a trial period offer of 2 weeks for $2.  

The Little Gym

The Little Gym in Lake Oswego offers a variety of classes for kids to participate in.  They offer parent/child classes for ages four months to 3 years old.  They then go on to join in pre-k gymnastics for ages 3-6, grade school gymnastics for ages 6-12, dance for ages 3-12, and sports prep programs for ages 3-10.  The Little Gym has an Enrichment Club as well, which is designed to nurture your child using a three-dimensional approach that focuses on the body, mind, and citizenship. If you haven’t found something that fits your needs as a family yet, consider taking advantage of their drop-in events like the Parents’ Survival Night which gives parents some time to reconnect while the kids play the night away at a fun and safe themed event!