MCC Fitness Group Exercise and Programming Director Carolina Walicki talks to us about new KidFit programming!
Starting this fall, you can join Zumbini to bond with your newborn, sign your kids up to make new friends and learn life skills they’ll carry through their lives in Kids Wrestling, and let your teen find their own groove in Dancetopia in our new fitness programming designed for kids ages 6 months to 17 years.
Carolina didn’t start her very own fitness journey until college, when as an undergrad studying art, she got her certification to teach spin classes and then Zumba, which she immediately fell in love with. She even continued to teach fitness as a Masters student in painting.
“I remember how valuable it was for me to have to teach fitness during stressful periods,” she said. “It was really stressful and intense and it was a good way to stay active.”
Carolina also taught art and graphic design in universities but found herself more excited about getting into the gym to teach fitness. After moving to New York, she kept teaching fitness and joined Manny Cantor Center Fitness.
“I think as a community center it’s the logical thing to do,” the mom of two said. “I find that parents are always looking for things to expand their children’s knowledge and their exposure to different things– be it art or be it sports.”
Carolina explained how taking a fitness class at a young age can change an entire child’s life, making them more active, confident and allowing them to learn new skills in a fun environment.
“When you have a kid who is excited about going to play soccer instead of sitting in front of a TV and when you can start to create positive associations with movement for a child from such an early age, it’s so incredible the impact that you can have for that child for the rest of their life,” she said.
Besides for getting children to get up and move around after sitting in school all day, fitness classes can build confidence and self-esteem.
“I think sports or fitness or physical activity- moving their body- it teaches them a lot of coordination and self-confidence and empowers them to know that they can do things. ‘I can climb higher today that I did yesterday, I can jump higher, I can do the monkey bars now, I’m better at kicking the ball,’ it really builds their self-confidence,” Carolina said.
Whether parents are active or not, having kids involved in fitness and sports can create a positive change for whole families by connecting them with each other and with their community.
“When you put that together with the family unity—how that can bleed into the parents who may or may not be active, all of a sudden having your kid drag you out to the field or wanting to play soccer with them. That can really become a change in the whole family,” Carolina said.
Fitness classes can also connect city parents with other families.
“When you have kids that are playing together, moms get together, they get to know each other and have play dates,” she said. “It’s wonderful the community you are able to build when you have young children. It’s really an opportunity for people to build connections.”
Asked which class kids should look forward to most, Carolina said she didn’t want to pick favorites.
“All the classes have great potential and it really all comes down to what the kid is most excited about,” she said. “But I do really think that we have something for everybody—we have a really well-rounded program.”
Explore our full list of Fall KidFit offerings here.