In the dead of Canadian winter, in a 600 square foot house while the wind howls at -40 degrees Celsius, you’ll often find our family on a small square of carpet jiggling and grooving to the dance move-inspired children’s exercise DVD, DanceX for Kids. Led by the ever upbeat Kenn Kihiu, the lively tunes, quick song and movement changes keep our little ones active and engaged while they’re stuck inside on the coldest of days.
You don’t need to pick up expensive, bulky exercise equipment like the treadmill for children pictured here. Let’s face it — five minutes on that hulk and your kids will be yawning and getting off. What they need are some upbeat tunes, short segments that keep their attention, and encouragement to keep up the good work. DanceX for Kids fits all these requirements, and takes up much less space; the moves are tight and non-traveling so you can fit a lot of bouncing little ones in your living room. We’ve put the program through its paces for over a month, and my children ask to do it each and every day. With short attention spans the norm for kids, there’s no higher recommendation a children’s exercise DVD can elicit in my opinion.
Kihiu – a former street dancer – leads his team of five fitness helpers, three girls and two boys of varying ages and co-ordination levels, through a brisk 25-minute cardio workout. It’s adorable to watch, and your children will most certainly fall within the skill levels of one of the children presented. The oldest girl is very coordinated and talented, the younger children and boys can be a bit flailing (just like my own preschoolers) so that no one feels the need for perfection. The DVD meets your kids where they are at in terms of fitness and talent levels – beginners through advanced – they’re all welcome. The range of motion involves the entire body and can fall into low or high impact depending upon the enthusiasm of the participants.
The selection of exercise tunes is diverse, drawing upon retro and contemporary favourites, often including an international flavour. Children are gently guided through moves from the history of rock and roll: the Hand Jive, Disco Rolls and the Monkey. Exercise moves with a world influence such as the Egyptian Push and Irish Kicks provide an exotic, contemporary feel to the disc. Brief pauses between segments give children a chance for a breather as opposed to the non-stop action on the DanceX DVD for adults – DanceX Total Body Cardio: Everybody's Workout.
Don’t be surprised if your wee ones ask you to join them in their dancing. Kihiu often encourages children to ask their parents to join them. I’ve worked through the DVD a number of times with my girls and there’s no faster way to get them to buy into the concept of family fitness. Sure, you might feel a bit foolish the first time you run downstairs to ask Mom for a cookie (Kihiu often provides narration for his moves, making the workout into almost a storytelling adventure) but don’t worry; the only ones watching are your kids, and they’ll love you for it. My husband has even joined in a few times, stating that the video provides a great beginners workout for adults, let alone children.
The disc itself is fairly simple, 42 minutes total running time (25 for the workout). Along with the workout itself, Kihiu provides a trailer for DanceX, nutrition tips and an inspirational pep talk for staying active throughout life – these same features are included on the DVD for adults. While there is no scene selection option (there are only 25 minutes of workout after all) the exercise portion is broken into a chapter for each minute – 25 in total so that you can quickly skip ahead or backwards to the song or move you’re looking for. We normally just pop in the disc and let it play. The opening music results in a stampede towards the screen with my 2-year-old crying, “My want exe-cise!” She’s never made it all the way through the DVD, but my 5-year-old always completes the entire program; either way we’re laying foundations for fitness that will bear fruit into adulthood.