Tips For Keeping Your Kids Active From Connecticut Fitness Professionals

February 16, 2013 8:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

When the weather in Connecticut turns cold, parents look for ways to keep their children healthy, happy and active. It’s much too easy to let kids stare hour after hour at the images on the television screen or become mesmerized by the repetitive sounds and flashing images of a video game. Some of the pros who know just what kids need to stay active offer some insightful and valuable hints.

Cindy Cassidy, Zumba Instructor
Bethel Parks & Recreation
1 School St.
Bethel, CT 06801
(203) 794-8531

Zumba Instructor Cindy Cassidy shares tips on how to keep Connecticut youngsters active during the winter months. For five years, Cassidy has been offering Zumba classes to the young, the middle aged and seniors through the Park and Recreation Center in Bethel, CT. “Parks and Rec does offer a lot of activities for youngsters such as basketball and other sports during the winter months. I’ve taught Zumba classes to two groups of young children – pre-K to 3rd grade and 3rd grade to 6th grade.” The accomplished instructor toned down the adult version by using the music that the children most identify with and limited the workout to only a 30-minute session. “Zumba strengthens arms and legs and is a good cardiovascular exercise. The exercise is choreographed and keeps the children focused and thinking. For the youngsters, I not only shorten the time of the workout, but I make sure that it is not high impact for too long. My best advice is to keep kids running. When not doing formal exercise activities, let them go outside and just run around the yard,” said the physically fit and agile instructor who has children of her own.

Related: Top Zumba Studios In Connecticut

Christa Doran, Trainer
Bodyology Fitness Studio
60 Connolly Parkway, Building 6A
Hamden, CT 06514
(203) 927-1270

Christa Doran, a trainer and mother, knows the secret to keeping children active and physically fit. “Make it fun,” she said. She knows how to do that pretty well. She has her four year old crawling through tunnels, playing with hoola hoops, dancing and ice skating. Having created and running “Tuff Girl Fitness,” she is very conscious of what it takes to keep children active even in cold Connecticut weather. “My four year old will create an obstacle course and have fun weaving her way through and over whatever she has dreamed up. She loves playing on the jungle gyms and loves to hang and swing on them. As a trainer, I see that she is using all the right muscles. She only sees the fun of it all. My life is family and fitness,” she said, and she loves every moment of it. Her husband Mike is also a trainer, so this family watches very little television.

Jason Gossman, Physical Education Teacher
Cider Mill School
240 School Road
Wilton, CT 06897
(203) 762-3351                                                                                                                             

When it comes to keeping children active and physically fit, Physical Education teacher Jason Gossman practices what he preaches. “I’m a big believer in ‘a healthy body, a healthy mind,’” he said. He works out five or six times a week. His two children, ages nine and 12, are always busy. They play basketball for the St. Theresa Parish teams and practice at the church gym. They like to walk the various nature trails in Trumbull, and when the weather is not so nice, they do indoor rock climbing in Hamden. “It’s not easy to keep children active because we’re fighting with technology,” he said, adding that three or four kids will get together and they’re all on their cell phones. “Their social skills are also lacking because of technology.” As teacher who knows the importance of keeping children healthy, both physically and mentally, his advice is to make sure children do some physical activity every day.

Lynn Bisignano, Personal Trainer/Athletic Trainer
Fitness 4000
630 Main St.
Monroe, CT 06468
(203) 459-2406

“Parents need to form groups and take their children hiking through the beautiful Connecticut woodlands,” said Lynn Bisignano, a personal trainer and athletic trainer. She speaks from experience because that’s what she does. “Kids love adventure and they love to discover a creek and all the beauty and surprises in nature. It’s so easy for a group of four or five parents to take a group of children on a hike. Tuck an apple, some almonds and even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their backpacks and let them enjoy their bounty in the open air,” she says, adding that the kids will swear that it tastes better. The trick is to find an especially interesting place to relax and eat along the way. Her rule of thumb is let them swim at local high schools; let them play basketball in the backyard and by all means, parents should play with their kids. It’s not only great for keeping the kids active and healthy, but it’s a bonding experience children will cherish.

Related: Top Spots For MMA And Martial Arts Studios In Connecticut

Chris Bogannam, Trainer/Performance Enhancer Specialist
Beast Training
7186 Main St.
Trumbull, CT 06611               

When it comes to knowing how to keep kids active and fit, Chris Bogannam has plenty of clients who have had Bogannam’s method work for their kids. “I can tell you that my daughter has not only benefitted from the agility training and body transforming exercises that Chris does, but in keeping kids fit, he also instills in them self-esteem,” said client Mr. Jason Gossman. Making youngsters feel good about their bodies by doing cardiovascular activities is a sure way to keep kids active and in good health.

Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at

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