What is the right age for going to the gym? (16 years old) - Future Fit (2024)

Do your children constantly ask to come with you to the gym?

Concerned about whether it is the right time for them to start their gym journey?

If yes, you do not have to worry. While, fitness classes and personal training have no age limit, and exercise has numerous benefits,not all UK gyms have a free for all age group policy.

Some UK gyms have strict age restrictions, while others, like PureGym, David Lloyd, and Village Gym, have policies that allow young people of a certain age group (at least 16 years) to use gym facilities under constant supervision.

Want to know the best time for your child to join the gym? Keep reading.

This article will discuss these age requirements for going to UK gyms, highlighting gym policies, alternative options, and factors to consider when using the gym at a young age. So, let’s get right to it, shall we?

What is the minimum age requirement to join the gym?

Did you know that no national law in the UK regulates age restrictions for joining the gym?

Despite this, several UK gyms use a combination of industry standards and personal gym policies to create strategies and determine the minimum age young people can join the gym.

This way, they can reduce liability risk, focus on safety and safeguard the well-being of their members.

Some gym policies vary slightly, with a few restricting young people 17 years and under from using the gym, while others allow children from 14 years with adult supervision.

Besides, the general age requirement for gym access across the UK is typically between 16 and 18 years old.

Most gyms nowadays have multiple intensive workout equipment, like heavy-weight machines, that can pose a risk for young people, especially if they combine it with specific exercises.

So, if anything goes wrong, they can be held liable hence, why most gyms have strict age restrictions.

However, there are a few child-friendly gyms, so it is best to consult the ones you are interested in and inquire about.

What to look for in child-friendly gyms

When you are looking for a gym for your child, you must pay attention to certain features to ensure your child’s safety. Some of these features include:

  • Qualified staff and trainers with experience working with children – The gym staff need to be qualified to work with children, especially in a risk-prone environment like the gym.
  • Safety – You should ensure the staff teaches the children how to safely use different exercise equipment. Plus, they should be restricted from using equipment that can cause injury, like heavy-weight machines.
  • Supervision – This is very important, and you need to ensure that the gym requires you or the staff to supervise your child at the gym constantly. It’s also best to find a gym near home – this way, it’s easier for you or another trusted adult to accompany the kids.
  • Child-specific Programmes – The gym must organise programmes for children and teenagers, as they should not be allowed to roam the gym and use any equipment unsupervised.

What is the minimum age requirement to become a personal trainer?

To become a personal trainer, you need to be 18 years old of age minimum in the UK. Anyone from the age of 16 can enrol and complete any of our non-practical e-learning courses.

Many gyms will accept applicants of 16 years of age, but be aware that if you are planning to work outside of clubs or leisure centres as a Personal Trainer, an Exercise to Music Instructor or a Pilates Teacher, you may not be eligible for the required insurance until you are 18 years old or over.

For more information on course entry requirements and admissions please contact one of our Careers Advisers who will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Factors to consider when using the gym at a young age

There are several important factors to consider when using the gym at a young age, especially if you want to ensure a safe and effective gym experience for your child. Let’s look at some of these factors, shall we?

  1. Safety – As stated earlier, your child’s safety should be your top priority. You need to ensure that the gym has a well-trained staff that can provide instruction, guidance, supervision, and properly maintained equipment and emergency protocols. Additionally, correct warm-up exercises, equipment training, and exercise technique are essential to prevent injuries.
  2. Fitness Assessments – Before starting any gym routine, a professional needs to conduct a fitness assessment on them. This is to determine their fitness level, identify potential health issues, and develop age-appropriate workout routines based on their capabilities. Besides, it is essential to remember that every child is different, and you should consider their unique needs and abilities when using the gym.
  3. Age-appropriate Exercises – Not all exercises are suitable for all ages, and young people must engage in age-appropriate exercise to reduce the risk of injury. They should avoid heavy weightlifting and high-intensity exercise to avoid straining their developing bones and joints. Some age-appropriate workouts include low-impact exercises, functional movements, bodyweight exercises, and cardiovascular training.
  4. Professional Guidance — It is crucial for young people using the gym to have adult supervision. This ensures that they use the correct techniques and equipment safely, reducing the risk of injury. Plus, with professional guidance, the adult responsible will monitor the workouts and provide constructive feedback.
  5. Exercise Progression – Children need to start working out with low weights to maintain correct form and control, and with time, they can increase the intensity. This way, the body has time to adapt to the exercises and limits the risk of injury or strain. Besides, proper technique is more important than lifting heavy, especially in the beginning.
  6. Proper Nutrition and Hydration – You must ensure your child eats something light, like a protein bar or fruit, or protein powder for a shake before working out. They should also stay hydrated all through the workout session. Additionally, a balanced diet is essential to support the demands of working out. This means they must consume different nutrient-dense foods to help their workouts, enhance muscle growth, and maintain health.
  7. Mental Health – Your child’s mental health is critical, especially as they are now going to the gym. It would help if you taught them to set realistic goals and emphasise the importance of a positive attitude. They need to enjoy working out instead of fixating on outcomes. Besides, fitness professionals need to help them create a balanced fitness approach, particularly concerning body image.
  8. Recovery and Rest – Rest and recovery are essential for young gym-goers, as it promotes listening to their body and including rest days into their schedule. You need to remind your child to take breaks, which is best for their cognitive development. Other vital factors for rest and recovery include proper sleep, nutrition, and hydration.
  9. Enjoyment – Young people must choose exercises they enjoy at the gym. When starting, they can try out multiple equipment, classes, and sports to find the ones they enjoy the most. This helps prevent boredom and ensures they view fitness as an enjoyable part of their lifestyle. Some good age-appropriate workouts include cycling, bodyweight exercises, and lifting free weights.

Gym alternative options for children

Even though there are a few child-friendly gyms in the UK, many restrict access to children below the age of 16.

However, there are a few alternative options that will provide the physical activity that your child wants. Highlighted below are a few of them.

Specialised Youth Programs

Many UK fitness centres offer specialised fitness classes for young people to exercise in a safe and controlled place. Most of the workouts featured in these programs are age-appropriate and under the supervision of qualified professionals. You can also check your local community for classes developed specifically for children, like yoga, Zumba, and martial arts.

School Sport Clubs

Most of the time, schools have sports clubs and fitness facilities that students can use during physical education classes or after hours. Children can use these facilities to develop their fitness and build healthy habits. Besides, most exercises done at school are age-appropriate, and they progress in difficulty as the children grow, reducing the risk of injuries.

Outdoor Activities

Many outdoor activities promote physical fitness, like skateboarding, biking, rollerblading, hiking, and playing in the park. There are also trampoline and bouldering parks where children can play, climb, and jump in a controlled environment.

Family Gym Memberships

Apart from personal memberships, some gyms offer family memberships allowing parents or guardians to bring their children to the gym. This alternative allows children to partake in physical activity under the supervision of their parent or guardian. Additionally, children cannot go to the gym alone without an adult.

Starting age at the gym depends on each gym’s policy, but you can start at 14 years old with adult supervision

In the UK, the age requirement for going to the gym is determined by the individual gyms and their policies, which is why some allow individuals ages 14 and above to join with adult supervision, and others allow 18 and above.

But, if you do not find a child-friendly gym for your child to join, there are numerous alternatives that you can choose from, and they will provide the physical activity that your child craves.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can a Child Younger than 15 years use a treadmill?

Running on a treadmill when you are younger than 15 years old is very risky and can lead to injury. Parents are advised to supervise their children in the gym constantly.

  • Should a Teenager be lifting weights?

Teenagers should not be doing any heavy lifting as their bones and joints are still developing. However, bodyweight exercises and lightweight lifting are good alternatives.

  • Do UK gyms have an age limit?

No, UK gyms do not have a general age limit, but the general age requirement for most of them is between 16 and 18 years old.

  • What are the benefits of exercise for children?

Some benefits include easier weight management, reduced chances of chronic illness, stronger bone development, and improved heart health.

What is the right age for going to the gym? (16 years old) - Future Fit (2024)
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