Little Gladiators Gym: first facility dedicated to children's fitness launches in Dubai

The gym has organised fitness classes specifically for children ranging in ages 3-14

Children participate in a kickboxing class at Little Gladiators in Dubai. Courtesy Little Gladiators Gym

There's no denying that the UAE has a childhood obesity problem. According to the World Health Organisation almost 40 per cent of kids in the region are considered obese, which is causing experts to warn of an epidemic.

With a fear of things possibly getting worse, a new gym at Golden Mile Gallery Mall on the Palm Jumeirah has opened with the aim of reversing the trend.

Little Gladiators Gym, which was started by South African expats Javed and Shanna Gani, is a facility dedicated to the fitness and well-being of children. It opened on August 10 and caters to kids aged 3-14.

The facility isn’t an open play area but one that consists of organised group fitness activities with qualified trainers. Parents need to book their child into a class before dropping them off and classes are divided by age groups: 3-5 years, 6-8, and 9-14.

Classes offered include kick-boxing, cardio, wall climbing, karate, virtual gaming, gymnastics and kung fu yoga. Within the 7,400-square-foot facility there is also a kids’ spa and hammam as well as a swimming pool, which offers swimming lessons.

While there might be some hesitation to enrol a young child into a fitness programme, Javed Gani insists that it is completely safe.

“All our kiddie equipment is child friendly. It’s designed and built especially for children, it’s not hard-core like you would find in an adult gym,” he says.

From treadmills to weights, it may seem a bit much but just getting a child's mind around the idea of exercise is important, he adds.

Generally, at adult gyms, children are often told they have to stay off equipment or are restricted to just one area. This is the opposite of what Little Gladiators has gone for.

“When a kid goes to an adult gym, he gets told he can’t pick something up. But here, it’s his space. He can do what he likes," says Javed.

Little Gladiators is offering an opening promotion that will see parents pay Dh999 for a one-year membership per child with unlimited access. Head to or call 04 240 8709 for more information