The workout bug seems to have bitten several youngsters.
With celebrity kids such as Sridevi’s daughter Jahnvi and Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter Suhana gearing up for their debuts early in life, many of them have started working out for a toned body, and grooming themselves from a very young age. Photos of Aryan Khan working out have gone viral many times, and a recent photo of his with six-pack abs has raised the question if such an intensive workout is required for someone who is just 19. A while ago, Alia Bhatt, too, had to go through rigorous training to look fit for her role in Student of the Year when she was just 18.
Yasmin Karachiwala, who trains Sridevi’s daughter Jahnvi and Salman’s nephew Ayaan says, “For those below 18, I make them do functional exercises — jumping, twisting, sit-ups, running, skipping, cycling and football etc. For the age group of 18 to 25, that too only if required, I introduce them to lift weights. Women don’t really have to lift weights, whereas men need it to make a body. With Jahnvi, we do a variation of everything. We do more functional training, which will also help her with dance and other things.”
Celebrity trainer Kuldep Sethi, who trains a lot of Tollywood stars, says “Sports can be started at any age, as it helps you to be more flexible, strong and build your stamina. But if you really want to hit the gym, you need to be at least 14 to 15 years old, though you should refrain from heavy lifting and concentrate on doing body weight exercises, yoga etc. If you want to lift weights, you could start off with light weights as your bones are still growing. They can also try kickboxing and martial arts. Those above 18 can slowly start lifting heavy weights.”
Yasmin says that age is no bar for those who want to do some sort of exercise. “We have an 8-year-old coming to the gym, with whom we do a lot of pilates. So age is no bar. I encourage youngsters to do outdoor activities. And instead of lifting weights, I ask them to lift their own body weight,” she says.
“Back when I was growing up, I had taken to resistance tube training. It’s very effective for those who are young, as it doesn’t affect the joints and builds strength, endurance and flexibility. Nowadays, children are busy with computers, Xbox etc. — I would request them to go out and take up a sport, or hit the gym and do body weight exercises. The trick is to be active all day and have fibre-rich and calcium-rich food, which will help them to grow taller,” adds Kuldep.
Dr P. Sharat Kumar, Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic surgeon says, “Youngsters should be encouraged to do strength training as there are numerous benefits — it increases strength, power, improves cardiovascular fitness, body composition, bone mineral density. However, children with conditions like heart problems, high blood pressure and seizures should seek medical advice before commencing.”
Dr Sharat adds that kids as young as 8 years can do strengthening exercises under supervision. “Exercises should be of low resistance with 8 to 10 repetitions 2 to 3 times a week. Preadolescents and adolescents should avoid powerlifting and body building until they reach physical and skeletal maturity,” adds Dr Sharat.
However, senior Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr Ramana Reddy has a word of caution. “Hitting the gym is not advisable. Those below 17 should concentrate on playing sports and not on building their muscles or making a body. A lot of kids also end up taking protein supplements, which has a negative impact. They should have a balanced diet and a wholesome meal. Once you are 17, you can hit the gym. However, aerobics is fine. They can also turn to other exercises,” he says.