Passing on a love of sport, to the next generation – Lesley from Fit 4 Tots, leeds the way.
There’s a funny shift that happens when you become a parent, suddenly statistics & headlines, stop becoming statistics & headlines & start feeling like a reality instead. There’s no longer a detachment when reading about these things, you realize they could start to have an impact on your children & the next generation, unless you do something.
Which is exactly what happened to Lesley Waldron & her business partner Sarah Dineen, when they started Fit4Tots. Concerned at hearing headlines about children being over weight & not reaching a certain level of fitness before starting school, they set about to do something. It was one thing for them to enjoy sport & fitness as adults, but how could they pass on healthy messages to their children?
And so Fit4Tots was born- exercise classes for pre schoolers and school children, delivered in a fun & enjoyable way. As personal trainers, nutritionists and mums their goal is simple – reinforce healthy habits for young children, through fitness, sport & play.
For Lesley, she was already working in public policy, but felt it was time to be out there & doing it – taking action for herself. As a mum to a 3 & 5 year old, she’s already at the forefront of mothering, so no stranger to the demands of young children. Lets face it, it can be a tricky task capturing a child’s attention – much less getting them to listen to a set of instructions and participate in an activity. So classes are devised to keep children engaged all the time, with not much standing still time.
I recently had a taster class from Fit4Tots, aimed at mums & their pre school children – a great way to get mums & children exercising together. We started with simple stretching exercises – trying to touch both sides of the wall with our arms out stretched as far as possible. Followed by squatting down low, then leaping up like a frog. All simple, good fun stuff – but a great way of getting mums & children exercising together.
We finished off with the balloon game – proper silly fun, getting into teams and seeing which team could win at passing the balloon up & down the their line, going over heads & through legs! Although on the face of it, it all sounds pretty simple – it’s the basics of developing the skills for sports, or the ABC – Agility, Balance & Coordination. It gets your heart racing, takes you a moment to recover & you have to listen to a set of instructions before starting out again.
Typically they try & give simple exercises for mums to be able to practice with their children at home, so they can keep building on the exercises – quite simply making exercise a part of every day life. For Lesley, it’s about giving children the opportunity to try as many different activities as possible – the point being about trying & trying your best at whatever you do.
Classes are taught in the community & through pre schools and nurseries – giving children the opportunity to have good fun fitness from an early age & develop those positive experiences.
My own memories of PE classes as a child aren’t fond ones. It wasn’t through lack of activity, more not finding the right exercise for me. Now as an adult exercise is my escapism, the thing that keeps me in check. I’m so pleased that Fit4Tots are making exercise more accessible and paving a positive way for the next generation.