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Speak Up: Kids at the Gym

Of course I believe in teaching kids about fitness and how exercise should be a part of daily life, but recently a new policy at my friend's gym got me thinking. Kids are allowed to come to her gym. If they're over four years old, they can participate in fitness classes (or just sit in the back and watch their parents), and if they're over 10, they can use the treadmills. They're even allowed to use the free weights and machines if they're over 12, with parental assistance of course.

I don't have a problem with this because I support kids and exercise, but some gym members have complained. Many of them go to the gym to have time alone, away from their children, and they want the stress-free environment that a gym full of adults offers. So how do you feel about kids at the gym? Can they work out at your gym?


Join The Conversation
crazylovevbug crazylovevbug 8 years
i think kids twelve and up should be allowed to go to the gym. i am a teenager who excercises regularly and would love to go to a gym to workout. however, i do understand, kids can be a nuisance. kids under twelve should stay in daycare or at home.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
well over 12 is fine by me, they are young adults and perfectly capable of doing the right thing. anything younger than that should be banned.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Lol at your "bug eyes" comment Soniabonya! I felt the same way after the day camp that I mentioned above. I would come home fuming and annoyed, bitching about how I'm so glad I don't want kids. Possibly the least relaxing workouts ever.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
no kids at the gym. if they're penned in their kid area, then fine but i would hate to hate kids on the machines or by the weights. kids just annoy me in general and i don't want their bug eyes staring at me while i work on the treadmill or swim. parents should be parents and teach them good ways of staying healthy and fit, other than going to the gym go outside, have fun, play together, be a damn family. sorry if i sound so annoyed, but working out at my bfs apartment gym with a screaming tot banging on the weights was NOT fun.
Westopher Westopher 8 years
Pass. A kids-only area is cool with me but I don't want to workout around them. With their parents doing their own workout, who is left to babysit? That's basically my issue, people don't keep their kids under control -- as previous commenters have mentioned. I want to be able to focus on my workout, not get distracted by kids running around, using gym equipment like a toy.
Stupidasscat Stupidasscat 8 years
No way. I go to the gym tog et away from my kid and have some me time and I can just see kids running around not putting stuff back and I know if I took my kid I wouldnt get a quality workout because he would keep stopping me to ask something or to show him something etc. And I agree with the others where kids are ment to run around outside and play no 10 year old needs to be lifting weights to get buff just go natural free playing outside if enough.
photodee photodee 8 years
Our gym has kids classes and daycare. I enjoy my R&R time! I would love to have the option for mommy/son workouts, too, but I think that mixing it up in the general population isn't a great idea. With all the competition I have to get on the right equipment at my gym as it is, it would make workouts take even longer I think!
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
If the kids are well-mannered, I don't see a problem. We used to have young girls in our Zumba class with their mothers and they added to the fun. I don't like the idea if they're not supervised or if they're obnoxious. Our gym is more like a hotel fitness center. It's very small and has keypad entry so there's no staff on duty. Usually we're the only ones there, but this past week there has been a group of 4 high school aged boys. Two of them really work out while the other two play on the equipment. It's really annoying and distracting. I don't feel like it's our place to say anything, but the two that are playing around are related to the owner so I'm not sure saying anything to him would be a good idea.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
to be honest, i don't think that it's a good idea. i would be really upset if my gym allowed children there. there's a gym that i go to in NJ that has a kids area, and they have parties there and that's ok to me, but i think that if they were allowed to use the machines and participate in classes that aren't designated for kids, then i would have a problem with it. i believe that kids should all be active and healthy, but i think that this is one thing that's a bad idea. i know that in some places they have a kids day - and that's ok. have kids related fitness classes that don't detract from what adults are there for. i don't want to have to worry about hearing a kid whine cause they are tired or in pain or whatever the case may be. i want to go to the gym for a release
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
At the gym I was working at, only 12 and older were allowed upstairs in the weight/cardio area. Even then that was only after they took the required parent/child course on gym safety and they had to wear matching wristbands and stick together. Everyone else had to go to Kidkare. We did not mess around with that stuff. The only exception was that occasionally when someone brought their child to aquafit, they were usually allowed to join in because it was fun and low impact.
Calekey Calekey 8 years
I believe that kids aren't really supposed to be in a gym area, kids area of the gym, sure! But when I think back I was about 5 at the time and my mom took me to her yoga class, I had a puzzle and sat there quietly watching and then even trying some of the moves, but I think bringing younger kids into certain classes could be done if the child has manners or is quiet and respectful....really depends..
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
There are some under 18's in my gym and they all do the exercises wrong! I daren't say anything to them though cos they're bigger than me. I'd rather they weren't there.
DevonJade DevonJade 8 years
Childhood is not for wasting in a gym! Kids should be out of doors playing, or involved in sports. I was in sports all through childhood, but only started using the gym when I was a teen to boost my training. Kids over twelve being in a gym is fine with me as long as they behave, but for younger children I think it is a horrible idea.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
I started working out at our local gym when I was around 15 during the off-season and summer. I know that even teenagers could be encouraged to get out and ride their bikes or swim, but they aren't little kids anymore and I think it is understandable if they don't necessarily have the same urge to "play" for fitness. Though team sports are a form of play! :) Little kids at the gym...even 12 year olds would bother me so much, it would just be a distraction, and I would worry about how safe it is. I don't know my gym's policy, but I never really see anyone under 17 or 18 in there now. There was a kid who was probably about 14 and his dad was trying to help him get in shape for football, but he definitely supervised him the whole time. Juey- that sounds like so much fun! I live in the snowy north, and even though I liked being outside in the snow as a kid, I think it would be great to give kids some sort of exercise option that didn't involve frost-bite. And fun for the parents too. Though isn't it ironic that adults would rather watch their kids play while running on treadmills than chase after them?
candace87 candace87 8 years
If you want to work out with your child, take them out for a walk or to a park. The gym is dangerous for children, and for others around them if they are jumping around and misbehaving. Where I go, 14 and younger have to be accompanied by an adult, but there aren't many that young anyway. When there are, though, all they do is scream and run and get in the way of everything, and the few that do 'use' the machines just hang off of them and giggle and act like its a jungle gym. Why pay good money to annoy others and do what you could be doing for free at a park?
itsallabouttheg itsallabouttheg 8 years
i haven't had any bad experiences with kids at the gym, but i do feel there are far more age appropriate ways for kids to be active.
krae85 krae85 8 years
Can't they have a kids day? like in satc and Miranda hated kids day at her gym, lol
javsmav javsmav 8 years
I'm fine with them if they are in a kids' area, but small children should NOT be running around a gym. I'm imagining all sorts of liability issues for the gym too.
jueycruiser jueycruiser 8 years
the ymca i used to go to redid the big basketball court and walled off a section for a "Fit Kids Zone". it was really cool, they had a rock climbing wall and dance dance revolution, and an area with ellipticals and stationary bikes for moms who wanted to workout and keep an eye on their kids. it was cool, we got jealous sometimes, it looked so fun!
macchiatolove macchiatolove 8 years
I used to work at a gym and I think kids under the age of 15 is dangerous. The basic problem isn't always the kids, but often (as many have already said) lack of parental supervision while kids are fooling around. Also, heavy weights, loud music and people off in their own little fitness zone make for a very dangerous environment for little children. As for Yoga and pilates classes (quiet classes, rather than louder aerobics classes) - completely inappropriate unless it's a children's class, rather than mixed. The gyms that I worked at frequently had creche/nursery facilities which I think is much better. I'm all for kid's fitness, but I agree with Katie225. There are many other ways a child could and should be exercising other than in a gym.
Blackwidowchick Blackwidowchick 8 years
I have never seen kids AT my gym. We have a daycare area in there separate from the equipment, but I still have never seen any there. The youngest kid I've seen there may have been high school age and he was there on the treadmill next to his mom. I don't want a 5 year old sitting in on my yoga class when I am trying to get inner tranquility though.
foxie foxie 8 years
Why would a kid need to go to the gym to exercise? It's called playing. That's a more age-appropriate way to burn calories.
princessgouveia princessgouveia 8 years
I think that having a kids area or kids time during the day is fine. But I would be really annoyed to go to a gym that I pay money for and have kids all over the place yelling running and making a mess of everything. I liked the way the last gym I used worked, there were no age limits, but anyone of any age being inappropriate was talked to. If you were using machines in a way that would hurt yourself or someone around you the person watching the floor would come offer a lesson. There were classes that I'm sure kids went to, and if they are quiet and participate I don't care. But its a gym not a playground or babysitter. Before you ask no I have no kids, no I don't want kids, and no I don't like kids. Shocker, huh?
mlarue mlarue 8 years
My gym is a private one in my office, so definitely no kids allowed. I don't feel as though the gym is the best environment to encourage children to exercise in; it seems like a much better idea to get them involved in activities that allows them to socialize with other children.
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