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Local fitness instructor advises exercise for youth in the winter

Stratman Cooke, a child fitness instructor at Focus Fitness Toledo offered multiple ways to stay active and healthy indoors during the winter.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Ohio now has the highest rates of child obesity in the country, according to ProMedica Obesity Medical Director Dr. Kanchan Pillai.

"Factors that contribute to the obesity epidemic are environmental and cultural," she said. The other most important factors are decreased activity and increase in screen time."

Pillai said these factors affect children more in the winter because they are spending more time indoors and off their feet.

Stratman Cooke, a child fitness instructor at Focus Fitness Toledo said fitness should be simple for children, and there are ways to stay active indoors during the winter.

He said fitness starts with doing what you can and ignoring any doubts.

"If you can do three sets of 17 push-ups, do it. Three sets of 10 push-ups, do it. Set up squats, always three sets of something," Cooke said.

On top of being active, Cooke said children should be encouraged to consistently eat their favorite healthy food.

"Pick a fruit that you like, pick a vegetable you like," he said. "Try to consume as much as you can. Get those vitamins and minerals in your body."

After training for over 10 years, Cooke said its also important to know how to practice physical fitness in a safe manner.

He said children 13 years old and younger should not use weights and suggested using resistance bands and running daily.

Cooke said he motivates his young students through encouragement and consistency.

"Don't let anyone tell you you can't be something in life because you can and you will make it. You just have to push yourself, stay dedicated and stay disciplined," he said.

Focus Fitness is open 24 hours a day and is located at 5302 Airport Highway. Anyone 5 years old and above is encouraged to join and practice fitness throughout the year.

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