// Should children have personal trainers

by Scott Ehler

Any child will tell you that a bit of extra attention goes a long way, be it at home, at school or in our case, with a personal trainer.

Children thrive on challenges, setting goals and having fun. Professional trainers provide not only a safe, fun environment to train in – they provide children with the sort of challenges necessary to help them in day-to-day life as they grow and develop.

Any parent will tell you that children listen to others more than they listen to their parents! with this in mind, who is better qualified than a personal trainer to influence children about the benefits of eating a healthy, balanced diet and enjoying physical activity every day? Children respect personal trainers not only because they are like fun teachers but because they can challenge them physically and push them mentally in a way that releases the chemical endorphins into their bodies to make them feel good.

Good personal trainers are like walking pocket dynamos, charged with energy and enthusiasm for life. They ooze positive vibes and charge the atmosphere with an affirmative ambiance. science is starting to tell us that what you put out into the universe emotionally is what you get back. most people could learn a thing or two from vibrant personal trainers who have a zest for life.

Today’s society appears to be time poor and excuse rich – and unfortunately this approach to life is rubbing off on our children as they are becoming obese at an alarming rate. So what better way to shake away the cobwebs from children’s technology-centred, stressful, modern-day lifestyles than a bit of positive personal training in a one-on-one environment?

In this setting the child can learn how to manage their life and their body, discover what fuel sources are best and learn which exercises they can do to strengthen their muscles and improve their aerobic fitness.

I actually call personal trainers ‘personal motivators’ – someone who is standing in your corner cheering for you, encouraging you and supporting you. When a child is exposed to this sort of experience it motivates them to want to achieve, to want to push themselves, to set goals and to live a healthier lifestyle. in essence – to look after themselves in a way that will positively impact on the health care system in Australia as they grow and mature into healthier adults.

One-on-one training also allows children to develop the necessary skills to correctly, and safely, perform strength and aerobic exercise activities. This form of supervised learning dramatically reduces the likelihood of injury occurring throughout their exercising lives, and sets the foundation for the child to be able to work on their own in the future – using the tools the trainer has given them to create their own training programs, establish their motivation levels and trust in their own ability to achieve.

In a school environment the majority of exercise ‘work’ is done in groups. Consequently, the ability to individually encourage, tailor the environment to suit the child, and personally motivate is reduced. Unless the child is intrinsically motivated to work hard and do extra work on their own, personal trainers have the edge at getting results and developing programs specifically designed for individual children – something schools would find difficult to do considering the number of children in every class.

This is not to say that school-based exercise is without merit – far from it. Fitness as part of the school curriculum provides an excellent way of encouraging group work and fun, and also contributes to better academic results in children. Every school should allocate as much time and as many resources as it can afford to student physical activity.

Not only will this benefit the children, the teachers will also find that it enhances the children’s learning capabilities and ability to concentrate in class. The school environment can be another target market for Pt’s looking to expand their client base. teaching group exercise in schools can be marketed as an option for schools that are not staffed with specialist PE teachers.

Learning from a young age to be physically and mentally strong gives children a massive head start in life, leading them in the right direction to be positive, proactive members of society who encourage others to live the same way. If all children were exposed to this at a young age, imagine the benefits the community and country as a whole could reap.

Personal trainers are perfectly positioned to have a positive impact on reducing the growing obesity problem among children. By working together with schools, parents and teachers, we can create happier, healthier children with brighter futures.

Working with children
The Children’s Hospital Institute of Sports Medicine (CHISM) delivers an online training module for fitness professionals wishing to specialise in children’s fitness. The Plan and Deliver Exercise for Children and Young Adolescents (SRF CHA 001A) Certificate IV Specialisation Module is also accredited for 15 CEC s with Fitness Australia. For more information, vist www.chw.edu.au where you can also click on the link to download the Kids in Gyms guidelines.

 

Scott Ehler
Regarded as one of the world’s top presenters in the area of children’s health and fitness, Scott was named Fitness Australia’s Fitness
Professional of the Year in 2005. He has presented at fitness conventions worldwide and is co-creator of Australia’s number one
health and fitness children’s television show, ‘Active Kidz’, which screens internationally. For more information visit www.activekidz.com

PERSONAL TRAINER NETWORK • AUTUMN/WINTER 2009 • pp10-11