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Young people find new confidence training at gyms

The government of Canada recommends all young people from the age of five to 17 engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity per day.

A study from 2016 showed 37.6 per cent of youth achieved this standard.

Despite this, some gyms are seeing an increase in young people doing resistance training.

Bill Cheung, the owner of Excel Fitness said he’s seen more 15-to-17-year-olds in his gym than ever before.

Cheung believes that more young people are participating in resistance training due to the increase in information.

“Now it’s known you can work out with resistance training at a younger age,” Cheung said. “Before that, there was a stigma about [not] lifting weights until 18.”

He said that this information is being spread among young people as “word gets around,” aiding in the increase.

According to Cheung, most young people work out for their appearance, and if they play sports, for performance, but they don’t think of health as much, “it’s just the way the mindset is.”

Someone that fits this description is 16-year-old Joey Maloney.

Maloney is a football player who has been working out consistently for five months. He said that working out has improved his overall health, appearance, strength, and happiness.

He said he started working out for his sports performance so he could perform at a higher level.

Maloney said that gyms should be available to anybody because everyone should try to get healthier, especially with the increasing obesity rate.

However, not all gyms are open to everyone.

R8 Fitness is a gym that requires members to be over the age of 18. The owner of the gym Santosh BM said they don’t allow youth due to the liability that comes with it.

He also said most gyms in his area have the same policy.

Excel Fitness is a gym that allows people under the age of 18 to work out.

Cheung said when laying out insurance plans, allowing youth does add a bit to the fees.

“I made the decision because personally, I started working out in high school, I played a lot of sports,” said Cheung. “Right now, most high schools offer a weight training class in grade 10, and sometimes in grade nine.”

Cheung said, “there is no reason that a person that is 14 or over shouldn’t be exercising, or [engage in] resistance training.”

He said another part of it is helping teens build confidence because “confidence is everything.”

Cheung said that while resistance training is generally safe, they make sure to keep an eye out to make sure no one gets hurt.

By staying cautious, there has never been a major injury for any youth at Cheung’s facility.

“When you’re 14 or 15 there’s certain things you should not be doing, but overall, resistance training is good for everybody,” Cheung said.