Like really, what’s the right age for a child to start at the gym? What is too early and what’s not? Let’s clear the
controversy, shall we? It’s undeniable that children too need exercise just like adults. The age at which they join the gym
depends on what the parents what to achieve by allowing them to the gym. Plus, regular exercise brings with it lots of health
benefits to children apart from achieving proper fitness levels.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children from the age of 2 receive some level of training or
exercise for at least an hour daily. This helps them control stress, build self-esteem, build a healthy body, improves sleep,
and maintain a healthy weight. A child’s time in the gym is decided more by his or her physical maturity, age, and
aspirations. To achieve a healthy lifestyle for your child, let’s break the children’s ages into groups and see what type and
level of exercise would befit them.
Group 1: Ages 2 to 3
Taking your 2 to 3-year-olds to the gym helps them build and improve their motor skills by participating in activities such as
throwing and running. Caution is needed with your toddler gym exercises. Your gym instructor should emphasize creativity over
strict form and fun over amassing massive structure. Also, if there are preschool gym classes that focus on body awareness,
strengthening language, observation, and cooperation skills, then these should be your toddler’s first encounter with the gym
environment. Your toddler’s bones are still fragile and should not be stretched rigorously. Their skeletons are still
developing, and your goal should basically be to improve their overall health,
flexibility, and weight balance.
You should also invest in playing with your toddler while they are at the gym to make it fun for them. With time as their
motor skills mature, you can up the games and include things like running, skipping, jumping, and tag.
Group 2: Ages 4 to 5
Building up from their experiences as a toddler, this stage allows for your child to engage in reasonably complex gym classes
with movements such as skipping, running, jumping, and tag. Workouts such as training with T-ball, tumbling and swimming and
some gymnastics are okay at this age as long as the focus remains fun and creativity instead of rigorous, structured fitness
regimes. At this age, the target should still be to further development of motor skills, improving coordination and balance.
Most gyms have classes for this age group.
Group 3: Ages 6 to 12
This is the age of elementary school and kids at this age have already started making their own decisions about how their
exercises should go and what type of activities they enjoy doing. They are also beginning to be serious about organized gym
sports that may run up to three times a week.
If you have a child at this age, you can enroll them into gym classes that extend beyond the basics of the two previous
groups. Doing this helps them develop their own styles which is a good thing for you as a parent. At this age, your child is
ready for activities like yoga and more advanced gymnastics. They can comfortably engage in group activities like basketball,
Group 4: Ages 13-18
Teens are very adaptable and can engage in highly structured training sessions with more resemblance to those of adults. You
should encourage your child to entertain gym activities as opposed to other sedentary activities like surfing the internet,
playing video games, etc.
Kids belonging to this age group may prefer individual gym activities like jogging, weightlifting or team sports. Do not deny
them the joy of weightlifting if it’s at the top of her interests but make sure you attach them to an instructor to monitor
the type of weights and the positions they take when doing the weights.
In the end…
The age for a child to start at the gym shouldn’t be a big argument. The benefits of structured training for kids of any age
brings more advantages to their overall health compared to the fear that they may get injured. However, the catch for any
parent who allows their kids, right from toddler age upwards, is that they must have someone responsible for them and guiding
them during their gym activities. Most gyms have gym classes for kids that are creatively crafted to enhance their growth in
terms of fitness, achieving balance, maintaining perfect weight, and coordination.