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What Are the Rules on Children and Gym Equipment?

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 7 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Exercise Gym Cardiovascular Muscle

Q.

Are there any rules and regulations about what age children should be before they can start using gym equipment? If so what are they and who is the regulating body?

(Mrs Hilary Griffiths, 25 September 2008)

A.

The most important regulatory body when it comes to the health and fitness of children is their parent or guardian. The publicity given at a national level to the dangers of insufficient exercise during a child’s physical development in terms of obesity and associated conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels mean that every responsible adult or guardian should be ensuring sufficient exercise coupled with a healthy diet becomes second nature. Much of this exercise should be derived through group play either during school-time or with friends or siblings.

Parents should also encourage all-round fitness by engaging in activities with their children, for example by cycling together, playing racket sports with older children, or simply kicking a football or rugby ball around the local park. Not only will such activities provide all generations with improved fitness, but also promote closer bonds and mutual understanding and interests.

Cardiovascular efficiency

Exercise involving gym equipment should not be necessary as muscle development and cardiovascular efficiency will follow naturally over time as long as a sedentary lifestyle is avoided.Should children entering their teens require work in the gym involving weights or specific machines to aid performance, then this work must be carried out under the supervision of a suitable qualified instructor to ensure that any routine is executed in complete safety. The aforementioned instructor should also be thoroughly versed in first aid as well as being able to effectively communicate with both children, coaches and parents to ensure an intelligent and safe programme is followed.

Register of Exercise Professionals

On the net, a good source of information regarding trainers can be found at the site of the Register of Exercise Professionals www.exerciseregister.org.

Parents who already hold a gym membership should enquire about family rates, and ask as many questions as they feel necessary regarding their children’s suitability to use machines in the gym.Only when a parent is thoroughly satisfied that their child will benefit from using machines, and that they will be completely safe when doing so, should they give the green light. However it is worth bearing in mind that generations of children grew up fit and healthy long before the bright and shiny outlets of the fitness industry began sprouting up in the suburbs.

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