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Athletes and Introverts: inclusivity in the weight room

The last few weeks have brought an onslaught of fourteen-year-old boys and girls to our gym.

I’m so glad to see young people interested in exercise! We are currently training young, female softball and baseball players. I am starting with a young man, next week, who is just a beginner in the weight room. You can be a team player or a lone wolf, and enjoy going to the gym.

Not all kids are into organized sports. Yet, someone more introverted can be very successful in the gym. The benefit is, they can work at their own speed. Sometimes they lack confidence in the gym, but that’s why I encourage training. I can show them what to do and how to do it safely. It allows them to learn at their own speed and ask questions.

Kids who are involved in team sports are looking for an exercise program to complement their chosen sport. It’s a bit more specific in the weight room. They tend to need a change in a program more frequently.

Weight training is comparatively safer than high-impact sports. It encourages proper bone growth and development. It also fosters positive self-confidence. Much like medicine, exercise has to be prescribed properly, for any child. In general, the children I work with aren’t given ‘adult’ workout plans. It all comes down to the individual child’s needs.

The good thing about being in the gym is, it’s inclusive of all shapes and sizes. A child doesn’t need to be of any particular athletic background either. All they have to do is show an interest in their health. We should always encourage children to be active, doing something they enjoy. The gym may just be the right place to do it.

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