Should my Child Exercise at the Y?
Absolutely! Everyone needs to get physical activity, but that activity looks a lot different for your little one than it does for you. The Y has a lot of great equipment and facilities for everyone to stay active, but the equipment you use may not be right for your child.
Children under 11 years of age need to be active every day, and that activity should be in the form of playing: running, chasing, skipping, jumping, crawling, climbing, and having fun. This type of play is not only critical for their physical health, but will help them develop motor skills and coordination so important for everything they will do the rest of their lives.
This can all be accomplished at the Y as a family by playing in the Gym, swimming in the Aquatics Center, tumbling in Gymnastics, and climbing on the Rock Wall. We even offer Family Yoga classes every week on Wednesdays, and family geared events throughout the year. Playing together and staying active as a family can have the added benefit of giving you a dynamic and fun workout too!
Your child will be more likely to enjoy being active if they are playing and having fun! Activity at this age should never feel like “something they have to do to stay in shape” or a “workout”. In fact, the American Association of Pediatricians makes 2 very strong recommendations when it comes to activity and children of this age:
- Any strength training should be limited to body weight exercises and not strength training machines.
- Discourage any continual, long-term repetitive movements. (Like a lot of our cardio, weight, and rowing machines.)
So please, next time you are at the Y with your child who is under 11, don’t try to have them follow your fitness routine, your body is different! Spend some time connecting as a family and playing with them at open gym, gymnastics or in the pool. If you need ideas or help, please come and ask any of the Y staff, we all love to play!