Recently, I stumbled upon an advertisement for a boot camp class for kids. They're marketing it as designed to get kids moving (for health), but still. . . Kids don't belong in a gym. While physical activity is important among our youth, no matter how many ways you spin it, kids need not be exercising or cooped up in a gym class to get their bodies moving.
If you want your children to move their bodies, find a way to accomplish this that highlights the joy and freedom inherent to unadulterated movement. Take them hiking or toss around a Frisbee. Swim and climb and skate. Play hallway soccer (what better goal than a door frame?), a favorite game in our house.
Kids should be outside playing tag and climbing monkey bars. They should be cannon balling into swimming pools and running through sprinklers in the hot, summer sun. They can be playing sports or dancing, riding bikes or flying kites. They don't need to be in a gym class with a trainer working them out. I'm not saying those classes aren't fun for some kids or don't provide physical or mental health benefits for others. I'm sure they do. And having worked in the fitness industry on and off for 20 years, much of that time in gyms, I can attest to the many advantages that exercise classes can offer. But for our younger set, gyms aren't the right place. Signing our children up for boot camp reeks of diet and fitness culture shoved down the throats of our most impressionable folks.
But just please, keep them out of the gym while you can.