Fitness industry expert IHRSA first noticed the trend a few years ago. A surge in teenage gym members that grew to 3.7 million by 2016 (at last report). Since then, clubs across the country have welcomed teen and tween family members to group classes and started group programming aimed at kids. If you haven’t tried working out with your kids for yourself yet, now is your chance. August is National Exercise with Your Children Month, and at the midpoint of a year when we’ve all been couped up a lot, as good an opportunity as any to blow off the cobwebs and try a whole new kind of togetherness.
Is it Safe for Kids to Work Out?
Yes. Absolutely it is – if you can get your teen out of bed for that 7:30am class you scheduled.
In fact organizations like Rise and Shine and the CDC, the national organization for promoting healthy activity in kids, advocates children should be doing an hour of physical activity a day. That’s not the case nationally, with only one in three kids meeting that mark thanks to sedentary technology based lifestyles – and also this year’s unplanned stay home orders. Some parents have a lingering doubt about kids and group exercise, which in many instances can be traced back to restrictions – and concern – over weight lifting and younger children. Children should not be lifting any more than ten percent of their bodyweight until fully developed, but there’s no reason at all an older tween or teen can’t join mom and dad for a favorite class.
Getting Started – Don’t Go Crazy
Don’t make your kid match your workout program. Choose something to do together (maybe something you’ve never tried either) that will be fun for both of you – and you can learn as a team as you go. Another good practice is start sensibly. Don’t hurl yourself and your 14 year old into an intense HIIT session. Maybe a beginner’s spin session, yoga or a fun dance-based workout could be a smart way to create a habit and find yourself a more regular, reliable gym buddy going forward.
Do it at Home First
There are so many options for online and on-demand workout classes now that you and your child shouldn’t have any problem finding something to take for a test drive before you even set foot in a class at the gym. YouTube is littered and cluttered with options but confusing and not at all curated. A good idea is to try a class that’s offered on-demand by your own club through FLEX (FitnessOnDemand’s streaming service) or a similar product that your club might use. With this kind of product you can easily find, sample and try a wide range of classes, workouts and exercises that are actually offered as part of the program at your club – making your entry into live classes all the more easy and familiar when you step into the studio.
Nutrition and Hydration
Kids should never count calories or worry about losing weight. If they’re at least somewhat active and eat a balanced diet, they will be fine. A teen girl needs around 1800 calories a day while a teenage boy around 2,200 and everyone needs to stay well hydrated in the summer months especially if they’re working out. If you are planning on starting a joint class schedule with your teen or child, it’s an ideal time to help them think about healthy eating choices and to understand which foods and food types fuel exercise and activity, which keep them healthy – and almost as importantly, which ones just taste great for movie nights and couch surfing…