JHA Classes

Junior Hero Academy Information   

This is just to let you know a little more about what we do at Junior Hero Academy.

Junior Hero Academy is specifically designed as a strength and fitness class for children; it is run by me, Krzysia Stevens.  I am a REPs registered, Level 3 Personal Trainer and a certified fitness instructor as well as being a qualified primary school teacher with full CRB clearance.

The class begins with a warm up.  This involves brief cardiovascular exercise, which raises their pulse, slowly and safely, warms up and stretches their muscles and lubricates their joints.  

This is similar to the exercise they would get running around in the playground or riding their bikes.

We then move onto some body-weight exercises where they use the resistance of their own body weight to work their muscles.   

This is similar to the exercise they would get swinging across the monkey bars in the school playground, climbing up and down a climbing frame, hopping or jumping.

The reasoning behind resistance work of any kind, body-weight and free-weight exercise, is that it increases bone density (extremely good for girls - evidence suggests it can stave of osteoporosis later in life) and it also has the potential to positively influence aerobic fitness, body composition, blood fat levels and motor performance skills (e.g., jumping and sprinting).  Not only this but children who find extensive periods of cardio difficult or boring can benefit from shorter bursts of resistance work with similar results.  

When our bodies are stronger, we feel more in control, we burn more calories, it improves our self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. 

At no point are we trying to build muscles or lift heavy weights.  We are only looking for functionality - to strengthen our bodies to make everyday life easier and therefore more enjoyable.

At the end of the session, we end with some core stability exercises that strengthen their abdominal muscles, which are there to support their backs and aid balance.  A strong core means less likelihood of back problems when they are older. 

And at the very end of the session we finish up with stretching which makes sure they cool down gently and allows their muscles a chance to stretch and relax.

If they have worked hard, they will be hot, sweaty and out of breath.  This is good for their lungs and their hearts.  If they have worked their muscles in a new way, they might also ache a little the following day.  This is not bad or dangerous in any way.  It is caused by a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles, which is what happens when you exercise.  It is call DOMS - delayed onset muscle soreness and believe it or not, athletes and gym bunnies learn to love this mild ache as a sign of a good workout!

If you would like more information, have a look at these web sites and books.
·      Falk, B, and A. Eliakim. Resistance training, skeletal muscle and growth. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 1:120-127, 2003.

·      Kraemer W., and S. Fleck . Strength training for Young Athletes, 2nd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2005.

A quick word about nutrition.  I have included this because it is a big deal.  I do not believe in diets.  Ever.  What I do believe in involves building children’s self-confidence through education.  We will never discuss anything that they do not already learn in school about healthy eating. 

The reason we might discuss nutrition is so that the children can think about their own eating habits, not so they can be judged.  

It is easy to think that it is a lack of exercise that causes us to gain weight but the fact of the matter is it is nutrition.  

It is really easy to eat, in one sitting, more calories than there are hours in the day to work off, no matter how hard you work.  If you are concerned about your child's weight, I can offer you, the parents, advice about nutrition to support the hard work they do at Hero Academy, if you would like.

I hope this explains what we are all about at Junior Hero Academy.  Please feel free to discuss further with me any questions you may have.   Krish

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