Posted by: NK | 2010-05-24

Kids in the gym

We have joined a gym on a family membership and have 3 children aged 14, 11 and 8. Which equipment can they use or what kind of programme must they follow not to get hurt?

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I think they should be playing as much as possible, especially the two younger ones. I think a structured programme is not a great idea, and it's less about the equipment than the way in which it is used. I think it will be great for you if you can do the training as a family, but you have to recognize that they won't do very well on the same kind of programme.

I'm not sure if the gym you're at has children's exercise classes. That would be the ideal. I would encourage that if you can get them into them. It's good to be with other children, for one thing. But also because it encourages play and variety.

Other than this, swimming is pretty good, and can be enjoyable. I would spend too much time on equipment like treadmills and bikes. Very boring for children. Good in terms of structure and learning but not in terms of long term exercise, so you have to manage the "dosage" carefully.

The key word is fun. All the time, encourage them to enjoy it, to experiment and to 'play'.

Good luck

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