CARROLLWOOD - There are plenty of things for kids to do if they want to stay in shape all summer.
They can join programs like "Move Your Body" at the Carrollwood Cultural Center, or they can exercise their wrists playing mindless video games all day.
Ana Rubenstein teaches exercise to kids at the center throughout the summer. After her last "Move Your Body'' program, she'll turn to a new one called "Dance Around the World.''
Rubenstein also teaches at the Northdale YMCA and, although she teaches dance and exercise for more than six hours and day and is an active participant, she admits to crashing out at home as soon as her day is done.
"I love my job,'' said Rubenstein, who grew up in Brazil, where dance and soccer battle it out for the heart of the county's culture. "Kids don't need to be sitting in the house all day, they need to be exercising and having fun. You see the kids running around and smiling and that's what it is all about."
The Move Your Body program consists of, well, running around and kids moving their bodies. Tag, where a child is chosen to chase the other kids in the class to run around the room from base to base, is popular and no one complains when they are the person in the middle. The kids stretch and end the session with yoga.
Rubenstein said the program combines the three basic exercise skills: cardio, strength and flexibility. Strength comes from within yourself, Rubenstein said.
A kid doesn't have to go to a gym and lift weights, she said. Push-ups, which are part of the penalty for being "tagged" out, are just a matter of the child using his or her own weight to build strength.
The key to it, Rubenstein said, is to have fun and let the exercises be fun. It would be easy for parents to make their child run around the block or do pushups in the living room, but combining it with games and friends makes it a lot more fun.
The kids at the Carrollwood Cultural Center were having a great time during their week at camp, but the week eventually comes to an end and Rubenstein said she wants to be sure that the kids are keeping up with their program once camp is over.
"If you don't use it, you lose it,'' Rubenstein said. "This is a lifelong thing and if you make it fun, it can stay that way. There's too much obesity with children and exercise is a great way to get away from that."
Rubenstein is studying at Hillsborough Community College and wants to be a physical education teacher. She also teaches Zumba, and is trying very hard to understand American football. Being from Brazil, football is a far different sport there, the one that Americans call soccer.
It's been an interesting summer so far for Rubenstein, who will be at the CCC all summer. It's been busy, but she certainly hasn't spent it playing video games.
The Carrollwood Cultural Center is at 4537 Lowell Road. For a calendar of summer events, check carrollwoodcenter.org.