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November 12th, 2010
09:28 AM ET

Should kids be allowed in adult cardio class?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a Physician Nutrition Specialist.

Question asked by Denise Taglia of Atlanta, Georgia:

Should elementary school age children be allowed to attend an adult group cardio exercise class? Some of the local Ys allow 9-year-olds with a parent, but how are adults in the class supposed to ensure their own safety as well the safety of a much smaller child?

Expert answer:

Without knowing more details about the cardio class, with the disturbing rise in childhood (and adult) obesity in the United States, and the drastic cuts in school funding that often necessitate eliminating physical education class and even after school sports, I think being able to exercise with your child would be a wonderful and convenient option for both the parent and the child.

Making exercise a family affair is a terrific way to teach and encourage your children to follow a healthy lifestyle. As long as the children are not being forced to attend the class and are having fun, a group cardio class could be a great way for them to get the recommended one hour of daily physical activity for children ages 6 to 17.

In fact, the class could qualify toward the Center for Disease Control's recommended three days of vigorous cardiovascular activity and muscle and bone strengthening. If the class involves weightlifting, this is not usually necessary for children and could potentially be unsafe without adequate supervision. I'm confident that the YMCA would not allow children to attend these classes if they did not feel it was safe.

If, however, you feel like your workouts are being adversely affected by having children in the class I think it is worth speaking with the management about adult only classes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention has more ideas for getting and getting your child more physically active.

Submit a question to our expert doctors.


soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Soledad's Sister

    CNN keeps deleting my posts because they are in a dark font.......HOw dare you CNN!!!!

    November 12, 2010 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Traumatized Poster

    There I was just reading an Article on CNN's webpage and I thought I would post my opinion but it was deleted...Am I not equal to other readers and posters? am I inferior?Wow.... is my opinion not as good as others? Depression sank in ...Thanks CNN!!!

    November 12, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. mrsgators

    I have taken my 11 year old son to Zumba class. It was an adult class, but I knew most of the people there very well and they all welcomed him. Even the people who didn't know us enjoyed having him in class. The result? A young boy who loves zumba and exercise and asks to go with me when I go, and pushes me to go so he can go too. It's a great, healthy, fun activity we can do together that isn't super expensive and is good for both of us – physically and mentally. If your child is old enough to gauge what his or her body can do (what hurts, when they are breathing too hard, etc), and if you child is respectful of people around them. . . I don't think there is any reason that kids can't be included in the classes. With that said – make sure you ask the instructors first.

    November 12, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PL

      My wife is a Zumba instructor and even has a class FOR kids! Why would we be so concerned about somehting so good? Safety is a concern and I undersatand that, but a good instructor (of any type of class, not just Zumba) would ensure that safety is paramount for adults as well as kids!

      November 12, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Honest question..... What is Zumba??

      November 12, 2010 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
    • s

      @Mike..... Google is a wonderful thing and guess what, it's free.

      November 12, 2010 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
  4. Expert Poster

    Children in the cardio classes are fine as long as the instructor and gym allows it . Also as long as the children are not disruptive to the class it is fine....Children need exercise plus cardio is better than strength training at certain ages....

    November 12, 2010 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Reba

    I've taken my now 15 year old daughter to yoga with me for years. She has always been respecful of others and well behaved! She had always loved it and developed a great, healthy habit of exercise.

    November 12, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jenny McFee

    I get the feeling that the reason that Denise asked this question is because she's annoyed with OPK's (other people's kids) and was looking for some ammo to complain.

    Sorry, so sorry for you Denise. You'll have to suck it up and deal with the fact that people have children and (gasp) they may actually be around you.

    November 12, 2010 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Mike

    I dont get it. What could the possible conflict be? Is this country so psychotic now we are actually questioning whether we should ALLOW kids to exercise?

    November 12, 2010 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Carla

    I've taken 3 of my children to Crossfit with me and they loved it. The trainers came up with lighter workouts for the 8 & 11 year old and my 16 year old did the regular workout. I kept the younger ones off to the side of the gym and made sure they didn't get in the way.

    November 12, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. ElizardBETH Crowinn Senior Big DOG Medical Gossip Spreader

    **************************************breaking news************************
    ******************************************************************11 Year old allowed in Spinning class yesterday............

    *****************************************************STAY TUNED********************************

    November 12, 2010 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tia

    Why would you be concerned about your safety if a child was in a cardio class? Are you afraid they will hurt you? Unless you are the instructor it should not be your responsiblitiy to keep any participants safe. Many children are much less disruptive than the "adults" that insist on talking and texting during the instruction!

    November 12, 2010 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. geeky

    I think cardio/fitness classes that allow kids under 14 should be advertised as "family" classes so I can avoid them. I personally don't think kids really have a place in adult cardio/fitness classes. They should be outside running around and playing, instead. I know everyone thinks their kids are well-behaved and everyone loves them, but trust me, we don't all feel that way. Let them have a separate class for the kids.

    November 12, 2010 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fuyuko

      I took a college class with highschoolers collecting credits and the class was a zoo. the teacher spent so much time with the minors the class was just useless for adults. I would support a family class, but also would like a class where minors were not allowed.

      November 12, 2010 at 18:41 | Report abuse |
    • Shirley Harris

      Please...NO KIDS AT MY ONE HOUR OF FREE TIME....I'm all for family classes...kids classes etc.....BUT if it's an adult class......leave it alone ....or at least let me know whan I sign up........!

      March 22, 2013 at 09:34 | Report abuse |
  12. Jessica

    I think any forums that include self-important jerks should be advertised as "a-hole" forums so I can avoid them. I personally don't think jerks really have a place in adult activities of any kind. They should be in the bathroom crying over the inner shame that makes them dislike some people based on age, instead. I know everyone thinks that their self-important bs issues are valid, but trust me, we don't all feel that way. Let them have a separate place for people who feel the need to spew their obnoxious blather about arbitrary social intolerances.

    November 15, 2010 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Laura

    Of course kids should be allowed in the cardio classes. There is no safety concern at all, as those same kids do much more dangerous things in their own backyards..... I can understand from a marketing perspective that people may want Adults-only classes, and Family classes, no big deal. But that is a social question not a safety question.

    December 11, 2010 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply

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