With schools cutting back on recess and physical education classes, more and more parents are looking for ways to help their kids get the exercise they need to stay fit. Physical activity is crucial to a child's development, and can help them use up excess energy, which can leave them more able to focus on school and homework. One way to help your kids get physical activity is to take them to the gym, and if you have a gym membership that you use regularly, this may seem like an obvious choice. However, safety is an important consideration – it's not necessarily safe for children to work out the same way adults do. Take a look at some tips that can help children stay safe while getting the activity they need.
Join a Child-Focused Gym
There are all kinds of gyms out there, from large, multi-purpose gyms with lots of different equipment to small, boutique studios that focus on just one activity like spinning or high intensity interval training. There are also gyms that have offer more novel fitness activities, like pole dancing or parkour. And among all the various options, you can also find junior gyms designed just for kids.
Children's gyms may incorporate anything from dance to gymnastics to games and sports in their workout options. Some are for kids only, while others are designed to help parents and children work out together. Either way, the point of these child-focused gyms is to provide space and equipment that is designed for children and is safe for them to use. If there are junior gyms in your area, signing your child up for one of these may be the safest workout option for them.
Avoid Machine-Based Exercises
If there isn't a child-focused gym available that you like, you may consider allowing your children to use a regular gym, such as the one you belong to. However, if you decide to do that, and if your gym allows children to work out there, you may want to avoid machine-based exercises for safety reasons.
Mike Tyson's young daughter famously died in a treadmill accident at home, and around 25,000 children are injured on home exercise equipment every year. Exercise machines designed for adults are simply not safe for children. Many gyms avoid the possibility of such accidents happening on their premises by banning minors entirely or restricting memberships to adults and teenagers. Other gyms may ask parents to supervise at all times and sign a waiver taking responsibility for their child. They don't want the liability of an accident. Even if your child can use a machine with your supervision, why take a chance with your child's safety? There are many things your child could do at a gym that don't involve machines.
Schedule a Doctor's Appointment
If you have specific concerns about your child's weight or level of physical activity, or if you want them to begin an exercise regimen that involves activities that would be unusual for a child, like weight lifting, it's a good idea to schedule a visit to your child's pediatrician before you begin.
Your child's doctor can rule out health conditions that might make certain forms of exercise dangerous. They can also give you tips for safe diet strategies and exercise routines that fit your child's age and abilities.
Physical activity is important, but it's also important to be sure that your children are safe while they exercise. You can keep them safe at the gym by looking for gyms that offer kid-appropriate exercises, steering clear of inappropriate exercises, and looking out for their specific heath needs. To learn more, contact a company like YMCA of Greater Cincinnati.