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When is the right time for your teen to start at the gym?

tween girl at gym

Do you remember being 13? For many young girls, body image is inevitably going to be on their minds as they farewell their primary school years and enter the big wide world of high school. Pressure from peers and the rise of social media means your daughter is bound to be looking more closely at her body shape and size. She may even ask you about ways she can change or better her appearance to match what she’s seeing around her. So how do we manage this precarious time?

With more than 80 per cent of Australian pre-teens using social media, young girls are exposed to an array of images that could have them questioning why their bodies don’t look like those they see online.

Taking the time to sit down and talk with your daughter about the benefits of physical activity will help her better understand the changes that are occurring in her body. Encouraging her to look at ways to improve her fitness can have a positive impact in the long run. As she grows, physical activity will help her develop healthy habits, better her health and coordination, maintain body weight and muscle growth, and build confidence.

According to research found in an adolescent fitness study, regular physical activity can help your daughter feel more energetic, improve focus and promote a better outlook on life. To achieve these results, experts recommend one hour of daily activity. But what if she asks you, “Can I join a gym?”

For young girls, tweens and teens, there’s no right time to start going to the gym. However, there’s a range of benefits to exercise, which can be in many forms. It’s making sure that your daughter is at the right age and wanting to go for the right reasons.

The benefits of cardio

Cardiovascular training, or cardio as we know it, is the act of rhythmic activity to increase the heart rate. This ultimately burns calories, decreases body fat and improves fitness levels. Cardio makes the heart strong – it increases blood flow, increases lung capacity, reduces stress and improves bone density.

Getting your daughter involved in cardio activities doesn’t have to be something she eventually turns her nose up at. In fact, she’s probably already participating in a range of cardio activities already. Getting her and her friends involved in running, swimming, walking or just general play are all acts of cardio can have amazing benefits for her overall health and wellbeing.

What is strength training?

Strength training is the act of strengthening the muscles through resistance such as free weights, pulleys, bands and body weight exercises. Regularly participating in strength training can maintain fitness levels, build muscle and improve bone density and strength.

For young girls, tweens and teens, strength training is safe, but not recommended as the only form of exercise. Consider educating your daughter around strength training and starting her off with low-impact strength exercises such as pushups, sit-ups and squats. You can always include resistance bands to increase the intensity. If your daughter wants to include weights into her routine, be sure to keep them light so she remains safe.

Get moving in and out of the gym

If you’re looking for exercises to get your daughter involved in, there are a range of options that are fun and fulfilling, both in and out of the gym.

Start them on home workouts

For young girls and tweens, visiting a gym may be out of reach for age reasons. If your child is showing genuine interest in participating in gym workouts, there are great home workout videos you can watch together to implement into your routine. Consider YouTube personalities Sarah’s Day, The Fitness Marshall and Yoga with Adriene.

Get them enrolled in group classes and sports

Does your daughter aspire to be the next Sam Kerr? Enrolling your tween or teen into an organised sports team means you’re building her confidence and resilience, and keeping fitness fun and friendly. Most sports have girl’s and women’s leagues now, however, there’s nothing wrong with joining the boy’s team if there’s an interest. There are a range of sports you can enrol your daughter into, but if you’re stuck for ideas, visit Girls Make Your Move for more inspiration.

Try a specialised gym program just for teens

For teens, visiting the gym can be a fun and exciting experience, especially when done with friends. Gyms such as Fitness First Australia offer teen programs, so consider introducing your teen to these when she asks about attending a gym.

Ready to join the Tribe?

Are you feeling inspired to get your daughter involved in some awesome workouts? At Lava Tribe, we’re for girls who love to move. So, be inspired by our Lava Tribe girls Skylah Hamill and Abigail Spelde. And if you’re ready to get moving rocking a sporty style, shop our range.

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