It doesn’t matter whether your child is or is not a budding jock, a fitness center designed just for kids is a great place to introduce him to the importance of working out. In this safe, controlled environment, he can practice certain exercises and stay healthy among his peers, without feeling intimidated by or looked down upon by adults.
One obvious feature you should see in a kids’ fitness center is child-sized equipment. Treadmills, elliptical machines, rowing machines and other equipment are designed for longer arms, legs and torsos of adults. At a kid-centric location, the machines should be made or adjusted smaller so kids can use them with stretching or straining. Weight machines are also adjusted to more manageable sizes for children.
Look for a facility with trained staff. The employees or volunteers of the fitness center should be knowledgeable of health topics in general as well as child development, anatomy and activity. They should be aware of the specific needs and limitations of children so they can show them how to use a machine or try an exercise in a safe manner.
Kids’ fitness centers sometimes offer fitness and workout classes designed specifically for kids. These may range from martial arts classes to dance classes, and even yoga or aerobic classes. The classes are often shorter than adult classes and are sometimes more fun, incorporating games and music.
Kids’ fitness centers should emphasize overall health. Take advantage of sanitary wipes, antibacterial gels and soaps they have available to wash clean any equipment you use, as dozens of kids’ germs may have graced it. If your child is feeling under the weather, avoid bringing him to such a place to avoid spreading more germs. Make sure he has water with him while he exercises and let him purchase healthy snacks on location if available.
The benefit of a kids’ fitness center is that it allows you to work out alongside your child. While he may find himself underfoot at an adult facility, a family friendly one allows you to bond over a run on the treadmill or dip in the pool.
Choose a facility for you and your family that focuses on overall health and happiness. Don’t overemphasize sports performance or success, but remain committed to a healthy lifestyle. Attend a facility where the trainers, coaches and teachers share your commitment so they can serve as helpful role models to your kids.