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Busy bodies

A new gym in Colonie aims to get kids active

Children participate in a dance class at The Little Gym on Albany Shaker Road in Loudonville on a recent November weekday.

Children participate in a dance class at The Little Gym on Albany Shaker Road in Loudonville on a recent November weekday. Photo by Billy DeLap.

Cold weather and early nightfall are not good enough excuses to keep children from participating in physical activities.

The Little Gym in Loudonville, located near Shaker Road Elementary School, aims to keep kids moving with a wide range of winter activities and classes for ages 4 months to 12 years old.

The Little Gym, which opened Sept. 30 at 471 Albany Shaker Road, is owned by Mercedes Sidor, who also owns a Little Gym in Kingston, which opened in 2005. Before becoming an owner, she was an employee at The Little Gym in Westchester.

The Little Gym has quickly become a destination for area parents.

“It’s conveniently located, and it’s a good outlet to socialize and be active,” said Jamie Masson who brings her 11-year-old to the gymnastics class.

The Little Gym is a franchise with 300 locations worldwide that was created in 1976 in Bellevue, Wash., by Robin Wes. According to The Little Gym’s website, Wes “created an environment filled with the spirit to achieve rather than the pressure to win.”

Megan Alexsa, program director at the Colonie location said the gym is all about fun.

“Our motto is serious fun,” she said. “We have the kids in the gym having fun, but at the same time, they are learning and they don’t even know they are learning.”

The gym offers season-long classes in gymnastics, dance, sports skills development and karate. The sports skills season teaches kids terminology, equipment, how to handle the equipment and positions.

“The goal at the end is that they kind of have an understanding of the sport they are going to play. So it’s a brief introduction to a lot of different sports,” said Alexsa.

The constant theme in all the classes is three-dimensional learning. Those “three-dimensions” are: “get moving,” “brain boost” and “citizen kid.” Get moving is the physical aspect of the training and gets the kids exercising, stretching and developing balance and overall fitness. Brain boost inspires the children to develop critical thinking skills, problem solving and reinforces lessons they learn at school. The citizen kid dimension helps the children develop social skills such as listening, sharing, leadership skills and working in groups.

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