14/08/2014 16:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Only Way Is Fitness: Gym For Under 13s Opens In Essex

The only way is fitness: Gym for under 13s opens in Essex

In a bid to get kids away from screens and exercising, a former corporate banker has opened a gym exclusively for under 13s.

The 'My Gym' in Billericay, Essex, caters for youngsters from six weeks to 13 years old, and its owner, Meera Khalfan, 26, says she hopes it will stop children from 'sitting around and playing computer games'.

The concept began 30 years ago in California, but Miss Khalfan's gym is the first UK franchise of the company.

"We want children to learn a healthy lifestyle at an early age – this is more important today with computer games and kids tend to just sit around," Miss Khalfan said.

"My Gym will be a great opportunity for them to get their energy out and have a safe environment in which to do so, especially with the rise in obesity and fast food."

She said that people are often surprised by the concept of a 'gym for children' but points out her young members will not be 'doing weights or running on the treadmill'.

"It's much more of a combination of a kid's class and a gym," she says. "It combines elements of a gymnastics hall but also a sports centre."

Meera says the idea was originally developed 'by psychologists, physiotherapists and cognitive therapists', and that for the younger gym bunnies, the classes will be all about singing, dancing and games, with sport being incorporated as they get older.

"It's not just about fitness and develops their social skills and confidence and allows them to understand friendship and co-operation," Meera told the Billericay Gazette.

The gym is kitted out with a ball pit and zip line within the colourfully decorated building, which Meera says has been well received by local families.

"We have had lots of interest and a really good response. Lots of children have been signed up before we've opened. There is already an up-and-running restaurant on site, The Pea Pod Café, which serves healthy food for children and adults."

What do you think? Would you send your children down the gym or just outside to play?