Exercise for kids in Doha

Combat the news that more than a third of Doha's kids are obese

Exercise for kids in Doha

Doha’s burgeoning fitness industry is beginning to cater more and more towards kids so we went on a mission to find some of the best exercise classes in the city for children.

It’s well known that Qatar has a problem with rising obesity and so many residents complain about the dreaded ‘Doha bulge’, and this doesn’t just end with the adults. It affects our kids too. So get them involved in exercises activities at a young age and they are more likely to stay active when they’re older. Just make sure they have fun!

Hip hop and Latin dance
Is your modern sprog a budding twinkle toes? Hilton’s eforea: spa is reaching out to little Marc Anthony’s and Beyoncé’s with a series of hip hop and Latino style dance classes for a range of ages from four to 12. Send them along to have some fun and get fit with a qualified modern dance teacher on Mondays or Saturdays for QR50 per class per kid.
Mondays 4pm-4.30pm (ages 4-6), 4.30pm-5.30pm (ages 7-10); Saturdays 10am-10.30am (ages 4-6); 10.30am-11.30am (ages 8-12). Hilton Doha, West Bay (4423 3333).

This fitness class based on Latin dance has taken the adult world by storm over the years, so now it’s time for the kids. This Zumba Kids programme, that’s held in the InterContinental The City fitness facilities, is the ultimate dance-fitness party for kids aged seven to 11. The classes cost QR50 per class per kid and feature age appropriate music that gets the little ones moving to the beat and dancing like no one’s watching.
Saturdays from 9.30am. InterContinental The City, West Bay (4015 8888).

Circuit training
The most effective type of exercise class for fitness and weight loss has to be circuit training. It targets your whole body and focuses on cardio to really get that heart pumping. The Diplomatic Club now offers kids aged five and above a dedicated session that caters to their abilities. It’s QR30 per class for members or QR50 for non members.
Fridays noon-12.45pm. The Diplomatic Club, West Bay Lagoon (4484 7450).

A brand new addition to the fitness scene is this yoga class for kids at Six Senses Spa. It’s an open class for children aged nine to 14 and combines stretching with body control to encourage proactive growth. It’s hosted by Soumya Vinesh, a well-established yoga instructor who has a degree in naturopathy and yogic sciences, and focuses on the total wellbeing of the children. It’s free for all and parents are also welcome to join in!
Saturdays 10.30am-11.30am. Sharq Village & Spa, Khulaifat (4425 6999).

Calling all Steffi Grafs and Roger Federers in the making! Conrad, the resident tennis instructor at The Ritz-Carlton Doha, runs a regular weekly tennis clinic for kids for QR50 (members) or QR75 (non-members) that aims to improve their aim and sharpen up their skills on the court. It’s a fabulous way for the kids to stay active and have fun with the others. Just make sure you book because spaces are limited.
Fridays, timings on request. The Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 8173).

This Doha-based exercise programme run by Zara Brook believes exercise should focus on fun, enjoyment and self improvement. They use their own ‘FMS Ninja System’, a programme for six to nine year olds that works by incorporating five minute movement breaks into kid’s exercise sessions. Kids choose an activity to be involved with for the majority of the session and these include Zumba, kiddie’s Boxercise, football, basketball, hip hop dancing, hoola hooping and more. During the course, the children move up in levels and gain a new wrist band to show they’ve developed to the next stage (this means they must attend 75-80 percent of the classes during a ten-week course).
For more information contact zarab@funkidfitness.com or call 5578 7762.

Let the water babies come out to play as they swim their way to good health. Doha Dolphins Swimming Club, run by Qmotion, offers a range of swimming lessons to four to nine year olds and six to 12 year olds. Their Learn to Swim programme, which is QR65 per class, is based on the National Plan for Teaching Swimming, produced by the governing body for swimming in the UK. Numerous skills and techniques are addressed from safe entry and exit to aquatic breathing, and buoyancy and balance, plus more. They also offer ‘technical development’ classes for QR65 per class.
Office hours are Sun-Thu 10am-6pm. The club is based in Garvey’s European Club, Al Areen Gardens and Al Jazi Gardens (6617 0911).

Sometimes just one sport isn’t enough, sometimes you’ve just got to mix it up. Legacy Multi-Sports Academy caters to kids aged four to 12 and gets them involved in a range of different sports, while encouraging healthy growth and development. Children are placed in age specific groups and choose what sports they want to play throughout the season but ‘multi-skills training’ is included in all sports sessions through specially designed games and tasks. There’s an annual joining fee of QR250 and comes with a Legacy sports kit then you can choose between the Silver package (QR750, once per week) or Gold package (QR1,200, twice per week).
Sherborne School and Qatar International School. Visit www.legacysportsandevents.com. Call 4438 3888 or 5582 1375.

Motivational health

Helping kids stay on the path to healthy living requires plenty of motivation from mum and dad. University College London Hospital’s Dr Deborah Christie, who attended the recent Excellence in Paediatrics conference which was hosted by Sidra Medical and Research Centre, offers a few tips for parents looking to encourage good behaviour…

• ‘Parents should not be the diet police. Negative messages produce guilt, which can lead to eating disorders.’

• ‘Parents and children should shop together to enforce taking responsibility for food choices.’

• ‘Bear in mind the three S’s — socially, slowly and sitting for food consumption.’

• ‘Balance out diet with activity. Those who move more, weigh less.’

• ‘Include small things into your day that encourage movement: empty the dishwasher, make the beds, or get off the bus a stop earlier.’

• ‘Praise efforts, reinforce good behavior with positive feedback and match expectations and behaviours.’

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