The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga is calling families out for free exercise and nutrition classes every Tuesday and Thursday at the South Chattanooga Recreation Center.
"We really just want to get people coming, the whole family," said Gabrielle Sanders, program director for Urban League. "One of the bigger goals is to help lower childhood obesity and diabetes."
Mothers, fathers and even grandparents are encouraged to bring their families to the classes where they can be healthy role models, changing their children's views of exercise and health by example.
The Fit for Life classes meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with nutrition education the first 30 minutes followed by an hour of aerobic exercise.
Natasha Pickett, fitness instructor for the Urban League, is responsible for creating the exercise routines and adjusts moves so they are accessible to grandparents and young children.
"I've seen kids in here who are surprised they are able to work out with adults and keep up," Pickett said.
There are no weights or materials required in the exercise portion of the class, because the focus is on aerobic movements and games that a family can do in their own home.
"We want participants to understand that you don't have to have equipment to work out," said Sanders, who hopes the classes will also provide bonding time between parents and children.
St. Elmo resident Shawn Wynn is attending the classes with her son Cameron Wynn, 10, who is already a very active youth. However, she said it is easy to become complacent in the home and allow children to gain weight without realizing how much they have gained and how dangerous that can be.
"If you have a child that needs exercise, it's not always a weight issue, it's also about health - keeping the heart fit and the organs working well," Wynn said. "There are kids out there that all they do is sit in front of the television. Exercise gets their hearts going and makes them want to do more than sit and play video games."
Wynn said she hopes to see more men attend the classes with their children, providing the sessions with strong male role models.