The Right Age for Youth Fitness Classes

Match your child with the right youth fitness class for her age and interests.

Kids doing box jumps in a youth fitness class
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Whether it's Tumblin' Tots, Zumba, or kickboxing, kids may express interest in youth fitness classes at a range of ages. Or you, as a parent, might be considering group exercise classes as a way to help your child get more physical activity or just find a hobby she enjoys. At what age is it appropriate to enroll kids in these kinds of workout programs?

The answer will depend on your child's age and the type of class he is interested in.

Many gyms, dance studios, community centers, and park and rec programs offer group exercise or dance classes especially for kids. These often feature kid-friendly activities like tumbling, ballet, swimming, or martial arts; or sports samplers that introduce a variety of sports and related skills.

For these types of classes, follow the organizers' recommendations for age minimums (often 2 or 3 years old). These guidelines are there for a reason; classes are safer and more fun for kids if they are age-appropriate. If your child doesn't meet the age requirement, but you strongly feel he is ready for a particular class, talk with the teacher, coach, or program director privately to explain your reasoning. She may agree with your assessment. If she doesn't, ask for tips on what skill-building activities you can do at home with your child until he is old enough for the class.

Youth Fitness Classes for Kids and Tweens

Some popular fitness classes for adults are also available in kid-friendly versions.

For example, if your child loves dancing to Latin and hip-hop rhythms, she might love Zumba for Kids (or Zumba for Kids Jr.), designed for kids 11 and under. Jazzercise also has kids' classes, called Junior Jazzercise.

Yoga and martial arts are both well suited to a wide range of ages and abilities.

You may be able to find classes especially for kids your child's age (starting in preschool). Or try an all-ages family or parent-child class.

Youth Fitness Classes for Teens

Once kids hit puberty, they may be interested in Spinning, Pilates, or other "grown-up" classes. Whether or not they can enroll will be up to their schedule, your budget, and the rules of the facility offering the class. Check with your gym, Y, community center, parks and rec department, school, and church to see what's available and whether your teen meets any age requirements.

Say your teen doesn't meet the age minimum for class she's interested in. Or she's shy about attending a group class or trying something brand new. You can help her get started on her own with an exergame, app, or streaming exercise video (also check your local library for resources). She can experiment with lots of different styles to find one or two that she likes, and then practice on her own until she's able to enroll in a group class.

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