At What Age Should Your Child Start Going to the Gym

If you have children, you may be familiar with the childish habit they have of wanting to copy everything their parents do. If you’re also an athlete or gym goer, you may have also noticed your young ones wanting to copy this behavior as well.


Even adults sometimes have difficulty exercising without overdoing it, however. How can you ensure your children are going to the gym safely? Are there limits to what they should be allowed to do? You may have a lot of questions, but don’t worry, because the answers are already out there!


The Importance of Exercise for Children


All ages benefit physically and mentally from regular exercise. Young children can also use exercise as a form of socialization – such as playing with other children at the park or through team activities like sports – and to develop good habits around staying active from a young age.


Another way to think of it is as such: if children didn’t benefit from exercise, school playgrounds wouldn’t exist.


At What Age Should Children Start Going to the Gym


The answer to this question varies somewhat from child to child. Do you think your child is strong enough to pick up a light dumbbell? Are they willing to listen if asked to stop an exercise, and can they follow instructions that are important in regards to gym safety and maintaining a proper form?


We encourage babies to roll around, wave their fingers, and we get excited over their first steps. Even babies have age appropriate “exercises”!


If you think you can adapt a workout routine to your child’s current capabilities and level of fitness, they’re probably ready for the gym. If they’re extremely young, they may lack the coordination for advanced exercises or the mass for weight lifting. A rambunctious and impatient child may not care to listen about proper form or participate in slower paced activities, but would do well in sports or even intense cardio.


Strenuous activities, such as heavier weight lifting, is best saved for teens and older. Younger children still in their growing phase are at a greater risk of injury, and have more fragile skeletal structures.


And of course, an exercise routine should never be used to encourage unhealthy ideas about food or weight.


Easy Gym Workouts Your Child can do


Think back to your elementary school gym class, if you had one. The easiest and safest exercises for children of all ages are the same ones that would be taught in schools: push ups, jumping jacks, pull ups, sports, and brisk jogs, all of which can be modified based on your child’s current capabilities.


If they struggle with standard push ups, for example, there is no shame in trying an easier variation!


At the end of the day, children benefit the most from exercise when they are encouraged to view it as a way to improve their health, move around, and have fun. The most important workout routine you can give your child is, in fact, one that encourages them to have fun and enjoy being active.