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New White Paper From The Little Gym Affirms Early Physical Activity Benefits Last a Lifetime
Child Development Specialist Urges Families to Consider Parenting Resolutions to Help Children Build Healthy Habits in the New Year

SCOTTSDALE, AZ -- (Marketwire) -- 01/03/13 -- The clean slate of a New Year is a great time to reevaluate and start fresh. While as many as half of us will make resolutions for ourselves, the new year is a chance for parents to begin making changes that will have a positive impact on their children's lives as well. A new white paper from The Little Gym, the world's premier experiential learning and physical development center for kids, confirms that the best way to help kids enjoy a healthy life is to establish active habits as early as possible.

"Launching a Lifetime of Healthy Habits" is prepared from research compiled by Dr. Cheryl K. Olsen, a former Harvard Medical School faculty member who specializes in child development and health behaviors. The research findings show how encouraging exercise and physical activity not only offers immediate benefits, but also has a long-term impact on a child's well-being as an adult. Activity and exercise patterns formed in preschool tend to persist among preteens and beyond, and various studies show how even moderate exercise can promote skeletal health and enhance cardio-respiratory fitness well into adulthood.

Making physical activity fun is the best way to encourage children. According to multiple studies reviewed by Olsen, kids get and stay active when they feel confident about physical skills, have opportunities for active play with peers, develop a sense of belonging to a group, and feel supported in an encouraging environment.

To help children form healthy habits, parents can seek out opportunities such as age-appropriate physical development programs like those offered by The Little Gym. The Little Gym's non-competitive environment engages children from four months to 12 years in tumbling, gymnastics, music, dance, karate, sports skills and other activities. Each class at The Little Gym incorporates its "Three-Dimensional Learning" approach of "Get Moving" for flexibility and coordination, "Brain Boost" for listening and decision making, and "Citizen Kid" for teamwork and leadership.

"As a parent, I know how difficult it can be to keep children off the couch and interested in physical activities," said Bob Bingham, President and CEO, The Little Gym. "One takeaway from the research was how essential the notion of 'fun' is for getting and keeping kids active. At The Little Gym, we call our program 'Serious Fun' because we look for the right balance between skill development and a great time. Children are more engaged and motivated to learn new skills when they are having fun in a positive environment."

The Little Gym white paper, "Launching a Lifetime of Healthy Habits" can be downloaded at www.TheLittleGym.com/WhitePapers. To find the nearest The Little Gym location, please visit www.TheLittleGym.com.

About The Little Gym
The Little Gym is the world's premier experiential learning and physical development center for kids ages four months through 12 years. To parents, The Little Gym is an internationally recognized child development program, proven to teach social and physical skills appropriate to each stage of childhood by creating opportunities to experience achievement and build self-confidence. The Little Gym has locations in 28 countries and is represented by 210 locations in the U.S. and 300 total worldwide. For more information, visit The Little Gym at www.TheLittleGym.com.

Contact:
Heather Anderson
The Little Gym International
(480) 948-2878
andersonh@thelittlegym.com

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