Can Kids Use the Gym?March 10, 2018
My 9 year old wants to workout in the gym with me, but I don’t know what equipment is safe or not for his age. Is she too young to get on a treadmill etc.?
This is a great problem to have! It’s a good sign when your child is interested in your workouts. However, a child’s body is much different and their muscles are not yet fully developed. It’s recommended to avoid heavy weights until roughly 18, though children can see the benefit from light weights (2-5 lbs). Most exercises should only use body-weight, while cardiovascular and core exercises are great for building endurance. Try implementing planks, crunches, and body-weight squats/lunges into a workout; really focusing on the form. Make sure he/she is practicing safe movements and keep an eye out for any signs of over-training.
Stay away from machines; they are generally built as “one size fits all” don’t cater to growing bodies. Using light dumbbells and body-weight is more than enough, and jumps, skips, crawls, and floor exercises are welcomed! I also recommend avoiding the treadmill. They can be dangerous and do require skill and coordination.
The key to a safe workout is to keep communication open, stay away from machines, and drink plenty of water! Welcome your child into the gym, but keep safety first and give plenty of recovery time.
By Paytra Gessler, ISSA Youth and Teen Certified Trainer