Les Mills on a mission to get young people moving

Responding to the rapidly declining level of physical activity in our youth, Les Mills has created a BORN TO MOVE series for children and teenagers.

Release date: 9 March, 2014

Good health, improved self-esteem and a better quality life – there is mounting evidence proving that physical activity drives a range of positive health and social outcomes1. Yet despite the compelling reasons to get moving, many children fail to achieve the recommended level of physical activity2. Les Mills, creator of world-leading adult group fitness programs, is on a mission change this.

Responding to the rapidly declining level of physical activity in our youth Les Mills has created BORN TO MOVE™.

This series of movement-based classes features separate programs for five age groups, starting with two to three-year-olds through to adolescents. Classes for the younger children build foundation fitness skills through imagination, exploration and movement set to specially created music. Classes for older kids use top 40 hits and focus on building dance, yoga, martial arts and athletic skills.

BORN TO MOVE is a result of five years’ research, development and testing. It is supported by a comprehensive teacher training system. Each class is carefully crafted to meet the unique developmental needs of that age group. Using music and moves that young people love, it encourages a sense of achievement, whatever the child’s stage or ability.

The BORN TO MOVE initiative is led by Dr Jackie Mills MD, head of programming at Les Mills, child movement specialist Anna Zahn and Les Mills programming and education veteran Janine Phillips. Dr Mills believes that this initiative is the most important Les Mills has ever embarked upon.

“The world is heading towards a physical inactivity epidemic, and the early years of life are a critical window to form positive habits. Young people who learn to love being active are more likely to grow up to be fit and healthy adults and experience benefits including strong muscles and bones, improved cardiovascular fitness and significantly decreased risk of disease.”

It is Les Mills’ vision that all youth have the opportunity to benefit from an active and healthy life. Young people in Australasia, Mexico, Scandinavia, and South East Asia can already experience BORN TO MOVE with the USA, UK and wider Europe rolling out live classes now. BORN TO MOVE is not only in the typical fitness facility setting – classes can be delivered in health and fitness clubs, community centers and education facilities.

Young people who learn to love being active are more likely to grow up to be fit and healthy adults.

Dr Jackie Mills, Les Mills International


BORN TO MOVE is a series of movement-based classes segmented into five age groups, with music and choreography designed to meet the unique needs of each developmental stage, from toddlers to teens. The classes are updated three times a year and are designed to plug into young people’s innate need to move. They build confidence and foundation fitness skills through movement, imagination and games that are set to the magic of music.

The initiative is led by Dr Jackie Mills MD, a fitness and nutrition expert who heads Les Mills’ creative team. Program development is managed by Anna Zahn, child movement specialist and Janine Phillips specialist in fitness training with 25 years’ experience. Teens Taine and Corrah Phillips provide valuable input into the music and choreography for the older programs.

BORN TO MOVE classes are in 30, 45 or 55- minute formats for toddlers to teens:

2 - 3 years
Using specially created music featuring lyrics that act as sung instructions, these classes involve both the parent/caregiver and the child as children are led through simple moves that build body awareness and balance.

4 - 5 years
Children in this age group are gaining more effective control over movements and have vivid imaginations. These classes involve children in the narrative to help them develop self-awareness, balance, weight transfer and concentration skills while learning how to interpret music and move to a beat.

6 - 7 years
Fundamental movement skills are introduced using fun rather than formal exercise routines. Teachers can focus on two options, either foundation fitness movements or dance. Children of this age are primarily visual learners and emphasis is on moves that are easy to copy.

8 - 12 years
Teachers show participants moves from dance, martial arts and yoga. It includes the latest music and introduces games to keep things interesting while developing fitness skills. The instructor will adapt their approach to match participant mood and energy levels so everyone leaves class feeling great.

13 - 16 years
Classes draw from the disciplines of martial arts, dance, sports conditioning, plyometrics and yoga, and are led by a trained instructor with the latest tracks to keep teens engaged. Participants will leave class with a strong sense of achievement and buzzing with energy.

To view the whole series, click here.

About Les Mills

Les Mills International Limited is the creator of 13 global group fitness and team training programs, including BODYPUMP™ (weights), BODYCOMBAT™ (martial arts), RPM™ (indoor cycling), LES MILLS GRIT™ (30-minute high intensity interval training) and the BORN TO MOVE™ series movement to music for toddlers through to teens. Every week millions build their fitness working out with Les Mills. Independent research shows that those attending LES MILLS™ classes come to their club at least two times more each week than others and 94% are likely to refer a friend.

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