Exercise for Pre-teen

Updated on January 26, 2010
T.C. asks from Sugar Land, TX
8 answers

Good morning all! I recently got a treadmill at home and both my boys (ages 9 & 11) have expressed interest on using it. Now, the 9 yr old I'm not too concerned with as his interest will wane after 5 minutes. But my 11 yr old needs the exercise. He is a big boy (dad is 6'4" & 300lbs) and needs the exercise but I don't know how much is safe. I am a walker as I have horrid knees but he is healthy and in good shape and should be able to run if he wants. I also think it will be good for him to run and/or walk to get ready for baseball season. Any ideas? Thanks in advance for the help!

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answers from Houston on

I started running when I was 11. I ran three 26 mile races by the time I was 15. My little brother started running when he was 3 years old. He enjoyed it and could run 3-5 miles at a time. Our bodies are made to move that used to be the way of life.

Make sure he has comfortable shoes and if he feels any pain then stop. You can ice his knees after to be on the safe side if he is heavy. I also have a brother who was overweight and ran. He had to wear stuff around his knees. He was 5'8" and about 250. After running at his own pace he lost 50lbs over time. He stopped b/c work and now he's up to 350 lbs. It's the best sport because anyone can do it. Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

I think its perfectly fine to let both of your children use the treadmill as long as they are under your supervision the whole time. As long as they are fairly careful, there is no harm done. There are plenty of children that work out almost everyday for a lot longer than either of your children will be interested in staying on the treadmill. Once they get a little taste of the treadmill, maybe getting involved in an organized sport or after school program might be a fun idea for both kids!



answers from Houston on

Congrats on your treadmill! I have one too and love catching up on movies while using it. Regarding kids using it - one moment of lost concentration (not going straight, slowing down, etc) and they could fall off the back, hitting their head/face on the hard sides. Have you ever been in a gym when someone falls off? Its a loud crash, usually involving facial injuries. I would be really hesitant to let them use it unless you are right there. It would also be helpful to pad the corners on the sides with foam. Try googling treadmills and injuries....

Take care, A.



answers from Killeen on

These are just my thoughts - and I encourage you to speak with the doctor about any program you start them on - but... I have a gazelle at my house and my daughter loves to "use" it. So... in the evening while watching TV I try to work out for about 30-45 minutes each night. My daughter is in great shape - still very young but full of energy that I try to waste so she sleeps well... so I allow her (under my supervision) to use it very slowly for 10 minutes. then I allow her to use the exercise trampoline for as long as she wants....
So - onto my thoughts to the treadmill. Let them both use it - UNDER YOUR FULL SUPERVISION!!! Meaning you never leave the room - whether you lift small weights while they use it or whatever. Give them both a set amount of time. Give the 11 year old more time because he is older. Allow the 9 year old 10 minutes until his interest wanes and the 11 year old 20 minutes. If neither lose interest and as they begin to gain your trust in using the equipment increase the time. I think it will do them good if their doctor thinks they can handle it physically.
I know I allow my daughter to use my equipment to encourage her to stay active and not end up like some of the other neighborhood kids who sit on the couch all afternoon watching movies, eating junk food and are already slightly over-weight - and arent even out of kindergarten yet... I dont ant my daughter to end up that way.



answers from Houston on

I think it's wonderful you're making exercise a priority for your kids. As others have mentioned, though, it is so important you are careful. If your treadmill has it, please be sure to use the safety key. When I worked in the ER, one of the worst lacerations I ever sewed up was a 10 year old playing around on a treadmill. I definitely don't want to discourage you from letting your kids exercise, but I want you to be aware.



answers from Victoria on

walking is best. for bad knees i belive the eliptical is kinder to the joints. i enjoyed walking outside because its more intreasting and i walk about three miles. half way if i am tired its too bad because i am 1.5 miles away from my house and have to walk the rest of the way. start slowly with any exercise program. 10 min first and add a few every day. 30 mins is a good work out i wouldnt do more than an hour.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I can't imagine any reason why your 11 yr old couldn't run on the treadmill. If you are worried, check with your pediatrician. If he's not in as good a shape, he could start with walking or alternating walking and running. Building the habit is a good idea.


answers from Killeen on

I know many moms look down on this sport but it is something that will really get him going if he is interested in it. I am a daughter of a boxer/boxing coach and it is a wonderful sport not only does it help but they get to compete and things like that...it is with the USA boxing non-profit org.(amature) and I am a female boxer myself and ref. and coach when I lived with my dad. It is 35 dollars a YEAR...and ages 8-35 can learn. You can find a club near you buy looking it up in your area and it is just fun to get involved in. My dad first started this when he was 8 and now has his own club and everything...there is no end to what you can do! Also many people in school sports still participate in boxing...football players, baseball and everything.

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