With childhood obesity rates increasing and physical fitness classes decreasing, many concerned parents are turning to personal trainers for themselves and their kids.
As of 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that 18.5% of children ages 2-19 have obesity. It’s not surprising that parents are seeking new ways to combat the growing trend.
Are Personal Trainers for Kids the Solution?
It may not be the solution for every child, but a personal trainer can be a great way to learn healthy behaviors that will last a lifetime for some kids. It’s also an excellent way for an overweight child to get some relatively quick results and reinforce fitness benefits.
Given that childhood obesity predicts adult obesity with high accuracy, a concerned parent would be wise to encourage healthy habits early.
A personal trainer can be another way to provide direction, structure, and strategies that help create a habit of healthy living that can have a tremendous impact on a child’s life.
Another reason some parents hire personal trainers for their kids is to improve sports performance and sports skill training. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, school-age children can benefit from low-resistance exercise with small weights and actually grow stronger with little risk of injury.
Is a Personal Trainer Right for Your Child?
A trainer can be helpful in the following scenarios:
- Your child doesn’t like organized sports
- Your child is self-conscious playing sports or trying new activities
- Your child has some health issues, and you prefer supervised exercise sessions
- Your child expresses interest in personal training
What Kind of Personal Trainer Is Best for Children?
A personal trainer who works with adults isn’t always the best option for a child. The trainer should have a degree and/or nationally recognized certification (NSCA, ACSM, etc.).
As a parent, you need to be patient and encourage your child to get the most out of the sessions. To improve motor skills, strength, and speed, children need to work with a trainer two to three times a week for at least eight weeks.
For kids to develop a new lifestyle takes time, and the goals of you, your child, and the personal trainer need to be realistic and modest. Attend the first one or two sessions with your child and see if it meets your needs. Ask questions about the trainer’s philosophy about working with kids and setting goals, and make sure you agree with the approach.
Signs of A Good Trainer
A good personal trainer for children should:
- Have experience training children, including a sense of humor and patience.
- Create training sessions around fun activities that aren’t typical gym routines and include input from the child.
- Offer a balanced routine of strength, cardio, and core exercise.
- Help the child find activities they enjoy and will do on their own.
- Have references from parents of other kid clients.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood Obesity Facts.
Simmonds M, Llewellyn A, Owen CG, Woolacott N. Predicting adult obesity from childhood obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews. 2016;17(2):95-107. doi:10.1111/obr.12334
Stricker PR, Faigenbaum AD, McCambridge TM, Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Resistance Training for Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics. 2020;145(6):3202021011. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-1011
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