Do you remember the first time you stepped into a gym? Maybe it was with a parent or coach. Some of us may not have had access or felt comfortable in a gym until adulthood. Gyms — both large public gyms or a simple home setup, are a place for you to take care of your body and enjoy the endorphins that come with regular exercise.
For many kids, particularly those who are interested in sports and physical activity, it’s an off-limits place that’s only for older kids and adults. When your child is of the age to be allowed in your public gym (most gyms have an age requirement that varies from 12 to 16 years of age) it can be a great time to teach them how to exercise safely using all the equipment your gym has to offer. Let’s talk about how kids can use fitness equipment to exercise safely.
Adult Supervision is a MUST
When kids are beginning to workout more seriously — to build muscle mass, train for sports, or to maintain a happy, healthy body — it’s important that they have adult supervision for more strenuous or hazardous workouts. This includes anything to do with fitness equipment. While your kids have likely seen the weight machines in the gym or played around on the treadmill in your basement, using equipment for working out includes heavy weights and fast movement.
By keeping an eye on your child as they get used to working out with fitness equipment you can keep them safe and teach them how to use the machines correctly. If you’re unsure whether your child is ready for a new form of working out, get in touch with your child’s doctor, who can determine whether there are any health considerations that may mean your child isn’t ready for more targeted fitness routines.
Teach By Example
While your kids may have seen you or other people using workout machines, it’s best to assume they don’t know what they’re doing. You can show your kids how to use each machine correctly, and teach good gym etiquette like not slamming the weights and wiping down equipment, too. If you don’t feel confident teaching your kids the correct form when using weight or cardio equipment, consider having a personal trainer step in to help you and your kids understand how to use each piece of equipment safely.
Start Light and Work Up
When beginning a more strenuous or targeted workout routine that includes fitness equipment, it’s best for kids to start off easy. Even if your children have participated in sports and training where they regularly exercise, start off simple with light weights or cardio settings. As they become more accustomed to working out safely, you can begin to trust them to make their own weight and cardio decisions. But don’t forget to keep an eye on them. While kids are smart and know the limits of their bodies, you as an adult supervisor need to help them ensure they don’t get an injury from using equipment poorly or doing too much.
Fitness is an important part of children’s daily lives — they should be getting at least an hour a day of moderate physical activity! For more fitness tips and inspiration about helping your kids be healthy and active, check out our blog.