A child works out on the treadmill at Kidz Gym in Sable Square, Milnerton, which aims to encourage children, regardless of their ability, to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercising.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
A child works out on the treadmill at Kidz Gym in Sable Square, Milnerton, which aims to encourage children, regardless of their ability, to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercising.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
A child works out on the treadmill at Kidz Gym in Sable Square, Milnerton, which aims to encourage children, regardless of their ability, to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercising.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
A child works out on the treadmill at Kidz Gym in Sable Square, Milnerton, which aims to encourage children, regardless of their ability, to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercising.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
A child works out on the treadmill at Kidz Gym in Sable Square, Milnerton, which aims to encourage children, regardless of their ability, to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercising.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
A child works out on the treadmill at Kidz Gym in Sable Square, Milnerton, which aims to encourage children, regardless of their ability, to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercising.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
A child works out on the treadmill at Kidz Gym in Sable Square, Milnerton, which aims to encourage children, regardless of their ability, to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercising.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
A child works out on the treadmill at Kidz Gym in Sable Square, Milnerton, which aims to encourage children, regardless of their ability, to be active and enjoy the benefits of exercising.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
Glenn Joselowitz, co-owner of The Kidz Gym in Cape Town and an ex-gymnastics coach, had always wanted to become a father and seven years ago his wish became a reality.

Having worked with children most of his life, he had seen the joy, pride and unconditional love parents have for their children.

“That was one of the things I really wanted to experience fatherhood.”

The night before his first child was born, he took a minute to pray.

“I prayed for a healthy child with 10 fingers and 10 toes. Emily Joselowitz, my daughter, arrived. Healthy? Yes! With 10 fingers and 10 toes? Yes!”

But he confesses he did not think of praying for those fingers and toes to be functional.

Emily was born with the rare neuromuscular condition arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which affects the mobility of joints.

Her hands, fingers, wrists, shoulders and right foot had very limited or no mobility.

Joselowitz said by the time Emily was 4 years old, she had had two foot operations, more than 30 casts on her foot and her hands splinted. The family took her to countless doctors, specialists and physiotherapists.

“I often took Emily to the gym to work on her flexibility, mobility and balance, setting up little obstacle courses to slowly challenge her abilities. She thrived in this environment her confidence grew and it wasn’t long before we had to hold our breath in the playground. She wanted to spend more time there,” he recalled.

Inspired by his experience with Emily, this week Joselowitz opened the children-only gym at Sable Square in Milnerton.

With the help of exercise, he said, “Emily is not only radiant and bursting with energy but she thrives at school and is, most importantly, happy”.

Seeing the benefits of exercise for his child and witnessing her transformation, he wanted other children to have it too.

Kidz Gym allows children to sweat and dance and use miniature versions of the equipment available at adult gyms. It is for children from infancy to 15 years. It can only be used under the supervision of a trainer.

Mihlali Fokazi, 11, of Parklands, who goes to an adults’ gym two days a week for swimming lessons was impressed at the fact that Kidz Gym is designed specially for children.

“I like the music that they play. I could exercise there all day because I didn’t feel like I was at a gym.”

Another child who enjoyed the gym was Benjamin Kellerman, 5, who was catching his breath, red-cheeked and sweating after a session on the treadmill.

“I’m tired but it was fun.”

Pointing to a cycling machine, he said: “I liked that one there; I can do it again.”

Joselowitz said Kidz Gym is what he always envisioned.

“Whether they are talented children wanting to improve and hone their skills in a chosen sport or children who just want to experience movement within an environment that is non-competitive, nurturing and motivating, kids need exercise” he said.