Tips to help families stay fit, active and healthy.


tennis in L.A.

Net Generation Brings Tennis to Kids Across L.A.

The 2018 U.S. Open Tennis Championships, which launched Aug. 27, are a prime time to inspire kids to get in the swing of tennis, a classic sport that can be played nearly anywhere – even at home.   Net Generation, a new youth initiative of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), makes it easy for ages 5-18 to learn about the sport and start playing in local schools, parks and tennis...

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redondo beach schools

Redondo Beach Schools Make Strides Against Student Obesity

While students in other districts will head back to school in cars, buses and SUVs this fall, many in the Redondo Beach Unified School District will take the “walking school bus” with parents and volunteers.   When they arrive on campus, they’ll begin their day with eight minutes of exercise led by teachers and faculty. At lunch, enticing displays of fruits and vegetables are generally the first thing they’ll see in...

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summer fitness

Make Moving a Summertime Habit that Lasts all Year

People who don’t have children may think of summer as a string of carefree days that kids spend running, jumping, biking, climbing, swimming and playing outdoors. People who do have kids understand that, far too often, summer days are spent indoors, sprawled in front of one screen or another.  It’s possible to persuade your kids to be more active – but you might have to change some habits. “If your...

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Angel City Games Bring Connections and Community to Athletes with Disabilities

There are three things L.A. dad Clayton Frech wants you to know about the Angel City Games – which will take place June 21-24 this year on the UCLA campus. This is not the Special Olympics. Athletes can participate for free. There is so much more going on here than just sports. Frech founded the games, the only multi-sport competition in L.A. for those with physical disabilities, in 2015. He...

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kids and yoga

Three Easy Yoga Poses to Do With Your Kids

There seems to be plenty of kids yoga to go around these days – studios, classes in schools, games, books, apps, YouTube channels and podcasts. But your kids can start right here and now with these three fun and easy poses suggested by Stacey Alysson, who teaches yoga to more than 300 L.A. preschoolers each week. Alysson is also author of “Parker Pig Goes to Yoga,” illustrated by Patrick Girouard,...

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family fitness

Family Fitness: Making the First Move

Phil and Michelle Dozois of South Pasadena have been in the fitness game for decades. Michelle got hooked with her first gymnastics and dance classes at age 5, and went on to win gold medals in the National and World Aerobic Championships and create top-selling fitness DVDs. Her husband, Phil, has been a personal trainer for 25 years, and together he and Michelle opened their own health club – Breakthru Fitness – in 1998.  They are also parents of a 14-year-old...

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family fitness in Los Angeles

Claudine Cooper to Parents: ‘Focus on Living Long’

Claudine Cooper’s high-intensity fitness classes are part boot camp, part sermon and part party. Folks show up early to stake a spot in the studio before it overflows. They endure Cooper’s yells to push harder. They bob their heads along to her always-banging music, even when that third set of burpees and lunges makes their muscles scream.   “I know you came to work hard, or else you wouldn’t be here,”...

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rock climbing in los angeles

Getting a Strong Hold on Fitness and Fun

As I watch kids scramble up the bouldering walls at Stronghold Climbing Gym one recent morning, the words “no fear” come to mind. Up the sculpted gray walls they go, using the colorful hand- and footholds to stretch, push and pull their way to the top. The gym, located in Downtown L.A.’s Brewery Arts Complex and featured on this month’s cover of L.A. Parent, is pretty safety-forward, with plenty of...

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overuse injuries in kids

Watch Out for Overuse Injuries Among Kid Athletes

If you’ve got a devoted teen or tween athlete at home, your best shot at keeping them injury-free this year might be to convince them to branch out. Yes, kids can get hurt playing high-contact sports such as football or soccer, but John Rodarte, M.D., who chairs the department of pediatrics at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, and practices privately in La Cañada, says overuse injuries in kids who focus too...

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Doc Talk: Screening for Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity rates, which climbed for decades, seem finally to have leveled off among most groups of kids. Still, about a third of kids are overweight and nearly 20 percent are obese, leading a government panel of experts to recommend in June that all children ages 6 and up be screened for obesity by their pediatrician. Steven Jensen, M.D., medical director of general pediatrics at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital...

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children's health

A Back-to-School Checklist For Healthier Kids

It seems like only yesterday that our children were wrapping up their last day of school and heading off to the pool, summer camp and family vacation. But the new academic year will soon be here, and it’s time to think about what’s needed to prepare them for a safe and healthy start in the classroom. From obtaining required vaccinations to teaching kids basic hygiene habits and helping teenagers cope...

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Flexi Lexi Yoga Pants Deliver Performance With a Dose of Cute

Yoga pants are great for any number of things: lounging, napping, running errands. If you like to actually practice yoga in yours, though, you’ll want some that perform at a higher level. Yoga pants from Flexi Lexi ( won’t let you down. The polyester-spandex pants come in a variety of eye-catching colors and patterns – from Aztec to pineapple to mint, watermelon wedges and neon-yellow. They also have a number...

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7 Great Water Sports for Kids

For some kids, choosing a water sport is a no-brainer. Synchronized swim, for instance, is a natural fit for 13-year-old Sophia Davison. “It joins two of my passions – speed swimming and gymnastics,” she says. Other kids might want to explore a little, and the L.A. area’s miles of coastline and nearby lakes make it easy. When my three kids were small, we started kayaking and picked up other water...

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Why Summer Vacation is Important for Family Health

To kids, summer vacation means time off from school. To many parents, vacation of any kind seems like a luxury they can’t afford. But Krikor Deramerian, M.D., a pediatrician and “Wellness Champion” at Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Park Medical Center, says you can’t afford not to take a break. Hectic work and school routines cause the body to pump out the stress hormone cortisol. “When this is sustained, it has effects...

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Families Find Freedom to Splash at CSUN’s Center for Achievement

Kids and water can be a natural recipe for fun, but parents sometimes struggle to find a comfortable and safe swim environment for children with different abilities. An adaptive aquatics program at Cal State Northridge fills this need – and offers valuable experience for future occupational and physical therapists. At CSUN’s Center of Achievement, children age 3-18 with disabilities can enjoy activities in a therapeutic indoor pool. Adaptive Aquatics for...

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Dina Kimmel Chats About Inclusive Play

Dina Kimmel has always been an entrepreneur. She launched two successful boutiques in North Hollywood in her 20s and 30s. But her business adventures turned personal when her son, Gabriel, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 2. With diagnosis came an overwhelming array of therapy appointments for Gabriel and the quest to preserve some sense of normalcy for her daughter, Sophia, who was 5 at the time. Kimmel...

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north american athletic club

Families Get Fit Together at North American Athletic Club in Northridge

You may be familiar with sitting on the sidelines during your child's sports classes, but one gym is hoping to get parents back in the game. North American Athletic Club (NAAC) opened in December 2016 in Northridge and was designed by working families, for working families. NAAC offers a place where parents and their children can get fit at the same time at the same location. The founders, Theodore Theodosiadis...

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la families

6 Free Workouts for L.A. Families

Whether your goals for 2017 involve a narrower waistline, speedier 5K or just a longer and happier life, they’ll be well served by getting out and getting active with your family. Though the Southland has no shortage of gym memberships and specialty fitness classes, it also offers plenty of free – and fun! – workouts you and your kids will love. This might sound great when the fresh calendar year...

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play in schools

Making Recess Work

Newton’s first law of motion, “an object in motion tends to stay in motion,” is what you’re looking for in kids on the playground at recess. Old-fashioned fun wrapped up in physical activity is not only essential to kids’ growth and development, it leads to physically active adults. In many schools, recess programs have been shortened or cut altogether, and recess no longer lives up to this ideal. “Every child...

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Step Out to Raise Funds for UCPLA

How many steps do you take per day? Do you have 10,000 in you? Find out, get fit and raise funds and awareness for individuals with cerebral palsy during the “Out & About With UCPLA” fitness challenge Oct. 3-28. The money you raise will help purchase equipment such as adaptable tricycles and adaptable beach wheelchairs that help people with cerebral palsy reach their fitness goals. Kids who participate can also...

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los angeles attractions

Giving Kids a Strong Hold on Fitness

If monkeys had a playroom, it would be the Stronghold Climbing Gym in Downtown Los Angeles. Located in the historic building that once housed the California Edison Company’s Los Angeles #3 Steam Power Plant, in the Brewery Arts Complex, this state-of-the-art facility houses hundreds of opportunities to scale walls and find routes to the top, across and under various types of simulated climbing terrain. For those who climb, it seems...

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UCLA Doc Offers Tips on Preventing School Sports Injuries

Back to school means back to sports – and the risk of injury that comes with them. “Being aware of the injury potential of your sport and proactively seeking ways to prevent such injuries is critical,” says Dr. Jennifer Beck, a pediatric sports medicine physician at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. Every sport has its own inherent risks, but one competitive sport – cheerleading – often is overlooked. “There’s increasing...

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L.A. Sports Programs for Kids With Special Needs

Kickball was one of my favorite childhood sports. Our weekly neighborhood games were even sweeter because we had a designated pitcher. Jonathan would be the first one on the empty lot at the end of our street. He’d always bring the ball, and as long as we could get at least four kids together, we had a game. Jonathan used a wheelchair, but he loved kickball, and for us, that’s...

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Ace Your Next Well-child Checkup

Before they turn 3, kids are supposed to have 10 well-child visits with a pediatrician (apart from those inevitable visits for childhood illnesses). These should offer a chance to address the many questions parents of young children face, but time with the pediatrician is often less than 15 minutes – hardly enough time to cover even the basics. To make the most of that time, be prepared. Before your child’s...

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South Bay Moms Can Work Out – And Give Back

Baby Boot Camp has long relieved moms of an excuse for not working out by letting them bring their kids and baby bumps along for some exercise. Now three locations in the South Bay are giving them some extra incentive as well. This supportive community of moms working out with their kids in tow has partnered with Sweat Angels, which allows businesses to use Facebook check-ins to donate to charity....

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belvedere middle gets fitness center

UCLA Health Gives Belvedere Middle Fitness Center, Hope

The damning statistics about childhood obesity are not as much fun to report as good news about programs that support physical activity for kids' health. This good news comes courtesy of UCLA Health's Sound Body Sound Mind, which just donated a $50,000 state-of-the-art fitness center to Belvedere Middle School in East Los Angeles. Belvedere is one of seven L.A.-area schools chosen to receive a new fitness center this year. The program...

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Deaf Son’s Need Inspires Swim Shirt Company

Cole Sherman is profoundly deaf, has cochlear implants and loves to swim. “My son, he’s a water baby,” says Cole’s dad, Eric. For many years, water and the processors that implant users wear outside the body just didn’t mix. But in 2012, when Cole was 7, he got his first set of waterproof processors. The Tarzana family quickly discovered that the processors weren’t convenient to wear in the pool. “The wearing...

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Four Great Family Bike Trails

If your family's spring break is a "staycation" this year, make your time feel like a bona-fide getaway by slowing down the pace and enjoying a bike ride. Many of us have developed an intense spin class or other stationary riding habit in our day-to-day, but forget that biking outside – just for family fun – can be delightful. "You see a place in a totally different way when you...

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L.A. Students Take On Skechers Los Angeles Marathon

Students Run LA will have more than 2,800 students running in the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon on Feb. 14. After six months of training, this Valentine's Day run becomes a symbol of accomplishment for many students who have learned to love themselves by recognizing the power within. "I will never give up on myself again." Gizelle Pompa, 11th Grade "I realized I serve as my only obstacle in achieving...

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Nontraditional Sports That Think Outside the Ball

Jennifer Jones first introduced her daughters to parkour on the streets of New York. “We traveled to New York in 2014, when my daughters were 7 and 8 and my stepdaughter was 15. I was concerned about the younger ones wanting to be carried as we walked 20 blocks at a time,” says Jones, owner of Market clothing boutique in Brentwood, “so I thought outside of the box and set...

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Heads Up For New Soccer Guidelines

If you’ve winced at the sight of a ball coming down on a young soccer player’s head, new guidelines from the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) won’t surprise you. Heading the ball is too dangerous for players under age 11, the federation made known in early November, and players ages 11-13 should attempt it only during practice. Sports medicine doctor Bianca Edison, M.D., believes young athletes need to watch out for...

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Cure Cancer In Costume

The L.A. Cancer Challenge, taking place from 7 a.m.-noon Oct. 25 at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, isn’t your typical fundraising event. Organized by the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, this 5K/10K Walk/Run really gets into the Halloween spirit. Participants are encouraged to come in costume, so if you aren’t a stellar athlete, you could still win a prize for costume design. (No need to worry about running...

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Try This Fun Fall Workout With the Kids

It’s that time of year. The kids are back in school, and suddenly, life is crazy busy again, which means getting in a workout can be even more challenging. As a mom of two and pre/postnatal exercise specialist, I’ve found the best way to do this is to involve your kids. I hope you and your little ones will find this 10-minute workout fun and effective! Sara Haley is an...

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My City Bikes App Is Health On Wheels

There are lots of reasons for you and the kids to hop on a bike – whether for the ride to school and work, or just for some family fun. The city where nobody walks is really quite bikeable, but taking to two wheels can be daunting for beginners. A new app is designed to make it easier. “It’s really common for people to just kind of be at a...

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APEX Play Space Offers a Fresh Take On the Kids’ Gym

It’s long been Ed Sais’s dream to open his own kids’ gym. His first jobs were as a lifeguard and swim instructor for children. Then, for 14 years, he ran the classes at Bright Child, a much-loved kids’ gym and play space in Santa Monica. After Bright Child closed, many parents whose children grew up attending and loving Sais’s classes encouraged him to open a place of his own. Sais...

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Hundreds Get in Shape Through Free Cedars-Sinai Exercise in the Park Program

Every summer, hundreds of people participate in Cedars-Sinai’s free Exercise in the Park program led by health educators at two locations in underserved neighborhoods in the West Adams district. The workouts — a combination of stretching, calisthenics and dance moves — attract many regulars who have participated since the program started in 2012. They show up Mondays through Thursdays with bottled water, enthusiasm and commitment. One young mother, who works...

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Innovative P.E. Program From UCLA Boosts Student Fitness, Confidence

A physical education program that brings commercial-grade fitness equipment to under-resourced schools, along with a curriculum based on boosting confidence and making participation more enjoyable, dramatically increases students’ performance on California’s standardized physical fitness test, a UCLA study has found. Professor of urban planning and associate dean in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and a team of UCLA graduate students followed 640 seventh to 10th grade...

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Muscle Mania at Home and School

Kristen DeLeo founded her nonprofit electriKIDS in 1999. She has taken her show on the road on a nationwide “Muscle Mania Tour” and hosted Muscle Mania assemblies at schools in and around Palos Verdes, where she lives. Now, DeLeo is working to move her workouts into schools that otherwise couldn’t afford them. The certified fitness instructor and mom of two boys has based her new “Fit 4 All” program on...

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Eat, Sleep, Move: Parenting For Good Health

Health is complicated, but simple basics can make a big difference. How and what we eat, how well we sleep and how much we move are important. Use these healthy parenting tips to help your family be well in 2015. Eat Forget gluten free, paleo and cutting carbs. Eating right means slowing down. “I would like to see families take more time to prepare meals at home,” says Amy Childress,...

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Tips for Keeping Preschoolers Fit

Most health experts say most of us sit too much – and that includes our children. While obesity rates among preschoolers have been declining, as many as eight percent are still overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there’s plenty you can do to keep your little ones moving – and make sure they eat right – says Angela Johnson, executive director of...

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Ways to help your child lose weight safely

How many fast-food restaurants have you driven through at 6 p.m. on a work night, with a hungry child screaming at you? Many of us have, and as parents we likely feel guilty. Childhood obesity is rapidly on the rise in this country. A recent study published in the Wall Street Journal sites the obesity epidemic as global: 2.1 billion people, or about 29 percent of the world's population, were...

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Girl Athletes Should Train To Protect Their Knees

By Christina Elston ACL injuries in girls don’t happen quietly, and usually don’t involve impact. A girl will be dribbling the ball down the soccer field, pivot to avoid an opposing player, then collapse dramatically, often accompanied by an audible “pop.” “You’re going to see it. Oftentimes you’re going to hear it,” says Gregory Adamson, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.  ...

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