Hitting the gym at a young age

Working Hard

Hitting the gym at a young age

An increasing number of young people are getting more and more conscious about their weight. They are working hard to be fit. In fact, children as young as 12 are heading to gyms and running in an effort to be in shape.

Iqbal Sait, who sends his 13-year-old son Roshan to the gym, says that his son, who previously shied away from sports at school, is now eagerly participating in them.
“He was overweight because of which he was not able to run. Hence, I decided to enrol him in a gym.

Over the last eight months, he has lost 14 kg and his eating habits have also become regular. However, he hasn’t had to make any drastic changes in his diet,” says Iqbal, “The cardio, agility, strength-training and group classes, which he attends, have helped him a lot.”

Happy with the results, Iqbal adds, “I started gymming when I was 14. Hence, I wasn’t apprehensive of sending my son.”  Take the case of 13-year-old Ashiq Ahamed, who has hit the gym recently. He feels that he should be slimmer than he is.

“Although I started gymming to slim down, I noticed that I’ve started growing taller. In the last one month, my height has increased by three centimetres. I run on the treadmill, do a cardio workout and some side-kicking,” he says.

Vivek Kumar, the father of a 13-year-old, points out that there has been a tremendous increase in his son’s activity level in the last six months.

“I enrolled my son to the gym six months ago and now he works out for 45 minutes everyday. What I have noticed is that from being slightly dull, he is now very active and his concentration levels have gone up. This has had a positive impact on his academics as well,” explains Vivek.

He adds, “The gymming is in addition to playing cricket and karate.”

According to Aanchal Kaur Kapoor, who runs Crossfit Gym in Frazer Town, most of the youngsters who come to the gym are either borderline obese or obese. “The children come here to lose weight.

Many of them have a Body Mass Index of 30-32, which is not a healthy sign at a young age. We give the children an agility workout or a sportsman’s workout, which increases their stamina and ensures fat loss,” she says. Although there are enquiries from parents of ten-year-old children, Aanchal says, “We prefer that they are at least 12 before they start gymming.”

Ajmal, a fitness expert, advises children, who wish to go to the gym, not to do any weight training.

“That will affect the natural growth spurt. It’s better that they stick to ground workout and the treadmill,” he says, adding, “The sedentary lifestyle that children are leading calls for exercise. In fact, I would suggest that they go for aerobics or dance classes instead.”Similarly, medical practitioner Dr Sankara Guha Dwarkanath cautions children as young as 12 who work out at the gyms.

“It’s not very advisable to hit the gym at such a young age, especially when they have the option of playing outdoor games. Outdoor sports will help them socialise and they will also learn to work in a team which is better for all-round development,” he says, adding, “Of course, it’s a complete no-no to weights at such a young age.”   

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