Workout Brothers

By GoodLife Kids on 15/06/2017

12-year-old brothers Brayden and Kurtis love to compete in arm-wrestling competitions against their mom, Deb. But Deb’s no slouch! A regular at bootcamp 3-4x a week, she’s learned a lot about personal fitness. That’s why the family was so excited to be a part of Diversifit, an adapted fitness program funded by a GoodLife Kids Foundation grant and offered through Autism Edmonton.

Trainers Zita and Kyle introduced Brayden and Kurtis to the gym environment. They explained how to use different equipment, proper form for exercises, and how to build a workout plan. Families also took part in weekly educational modules on topics including building healthy habits, safety in the gym, and making fitness fun at home. To Deb’s surprise, her sons often chose to sit with her attentively through these talks, eager to learn more about their new interest!

“The ‘Aha Moment’ for me was realizing how much of an impact this could have for them,” said Deb. “Being inactive can have a really negative ripple effect on overall health and Brayden and Kurtis were at risk for that. But, the opposite is also true and I’m excited to see how being more active will help them in other areas of their lives as well.”

When they were younger, the brothers tried playing soccer in a league but the fast-paced and competitive atmosphere triggered anxiety and some of the other kids weren’t very tolerant of their social and motor delays. With fitness, a program can be built to fit their individual need and goals. The bonus is they’ve already got a workout buddy – they’re great at supporting and motivating each other.

“It was amazing to see them be able to move past the initial frustration of feeling like they couldn’t do anything right in the safe and positive environment created by the trainers. By the end of the program they were running ahead of me into the gym asking what they could get started on,” said Deb. “They’re feeling stronger, more confident, and excited to be active - and that’s priceless.”

At the end of the session, the boys got to take home some basic fitness equipment like an agility ladder, dumbbells, and a stability ball to keep them on the right track. We can’t wait to see what kind of circuits and obstacle courses they’ll have set up in the livingroom in no time! 

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GoodLife Kids
GoodLife Kids Foundation shares resources and links to help you provide a healthier and more physically active lifestyle for the children in your life.

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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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