Stress Relief for Kids: Why My Kids Will Eventually Go To The Gym With Me

One of the best decisions that I made in the past few years was to join a gym. I don’t go to the gym so I can one day walk out of the house feeling like I could challenge the 1970s Arnold Schwarzenegger in a tight shirt contest. I don’t even go to the gym so that I can one day run a sub three hour marathon–although that would be nice. It has far more to do with the stress relief it brings than anything else. I’ll just say that dealing with other peoples’ problems on a day-t0-day basis has a tendency to leave me wide awake at 3 AM, so consumed with the stress of deciding what strategy I should take in an upcoming trial that happens to pop into my head the second that I need to take my nightly 3 AM pee.

There’s just something about going to the gym and throwing around weights, sprinting on a treadmill, and swimming in a pool that is exhilarating and allows me to leave my career-related stresses lying on the gym floor.

When I was younger, I dealt with all the usual stresses that came with being an adolescent in the awkward phase of teenage-hood. I would head outside in my family’s front yard and pretend I was Karl Malone and I would practice shooting the basketball. In those days in Utah, Karl Malone and John Stockton were most boys’ sports idols and I’m positive I wasn’t the only boy or girl out there pretending to be one or the other. I memorized Malone’s jump shot and his post moves. I practiced them over and over and over again. When I was done and feeling much better, I would head back inside and the stresses from that day seemed to have been left outdoors.

I can’t help but wonder if Addie does the same thing. She seems to go into gymnastics mode at the drop of a hat, but I’ve started to notice that when she is getting in trouble for not listening, she almost immediately does a cartwheel. That cartwheel is followed by another cartwheel, which is then followed by some back handstand type thingy, which is then followed by some stunt with a hula-hoop. I often find myself lecturing Addie mid-cartwheel.

At some point cartwheels in the living room and handstand thingys just aren’t going to cut it for Addie. Her life is relatively simple right now, but her level of stress is going to sky rocket over the next five years. At some point in that time, I would like to get Addie a gym pass so we can spend a bit more time together and she can start picking up healthy habits as she works off her stress.

I’ve tried to test Addie’s interest in doing exercise at the gym by signing her up for each class for kids that is held there. So far those classes have been a huge success with her. The first time we went to the gym together Addie was very hesitant, but within only minutes she fell in love with the various exercises the trainers had her doing. During that first class, she hung out with two different trainers and four other boys who were slightly older than her. The trainers put her through several obstacle courses to test her coordination and then they took her into the weight room where they tested her strength, which was Addie’s favorite part because the serious weight lifters would cheer her on as she did various lifts.

The kid may be a natural athlete. The trainers said they had never worked with a kid as coordinated as her. Ultimately, that’s why she was eventually enrolled in gymnastics classes. No need to let that athletic ability go to waste. Hopefully getting to spend a bit of time with her at the gym can help her work through her adolescence and maybe give her a bit of the enjoyment I experienced when I used to play basketball with my dad in the front yard.

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