Community Events

Children can kid around with free fitness class at Coventry Mall

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Children do the “crab walk” exercise during a free kids fitness class at Coventry Mall. The class along with yoga for adults will be offered every week at the mall. Michilea Patterson — Digital First Media

By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury

NORTH COVENTRY >> Anthony Jackson believes making fitness fun is the key to getting kids to want to exercise. This is why relay races, freeze tag and dodgeball were part of a free class for children at the Coventry Mall.

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Young girls run in a circle while at a free kids fitness class at Coventry Mall. The class include fun games like free tag, dodgeball and more. Michilea Patterson — Digital First Media

Jackson graduated from West Point and went on to serve in the military as an Airborne Ranger. He is now the founder and president of Dao Concepts, a New Jersey-based company that helps people of all ages find balance in their life through a variety of wellness activities.

The company operates a martial arts academy in New Jersey which offers high intensity interval training, kung fu, tai chi and more. The same management company that owns the Coventry Mall also owns the shopping center where the academy is located.

Jackson wants to expand Dao Concepts and plans to open a martial arts academy at Coventry Mall. To help build a “base population,” Jackson will be offering weekly free kid fitness and adult yoga classes at the mall. As of now, the children’s class meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and the adult class meets right after at 7 p.m. The classes are held inside an empty space across from Books-A-Million.

Jackson said some people may be afraid of the words “martial arts,” but the academy is a wellness center for all kinds of activities. He said eventually tai chi and meditation classes will also be offered at Coventry Mall.

“It’s whatever we have to do to get people healthy. Our (the nation’s) biggest problem is that people don’t move anymore,” he said.

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Samantha Morrell, 7, runs in place during a kids fitness class at Coventry Mall. The free class will be offered every Tuesday along with a yoga class for adults.

He said it’s important that kids get at least an hour of exercise each day, especially during a time when sedentary lifestyles are common. He said exercising will also help children learn discipline that they will be able to use in other areas of their life.

Dao Concepts has a lot of programs the encompass tai chi or the principles of tai chi, such as balance. After Jackson retired from the military, he was having a difficult time finding balance in his life. He gained weight, was very stressed and was experiencing heart palpitations. Then a friend, also retired from the military, suggested martial arts.

“Six months into it, I realized that I probably would have had a stroke or a heart attack if I hadn’t started training. That’s how far gone I was,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s martial arts training led him to tai chi which is a gentle activity great for stress relief. He’s been practicing tai chi for 18 years and he applies the techniques he learns to the rest of his life including business.

“What I learned is the more balanced I became, the better I was in business and the more successful I became,” he said.

“In our world today with all of the stress and pressure that we put on performance whether it’s our kids or whether it’s in business, it’s so hard to live life in balance. People don’t make time for themselves,” Jackson said adding that activities like tai chi and yoga help people to discover themselves.

For more information about the weekly free fitness classes at the Coventry Mall, visit the Facebook page at bit.ly/2i7ZwFt. For more about Dao Concepts and the company’s martial arts school, visit www.daoconcepts.com.

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