By Kathy Eastwood, U.S. Military Academy Public AffairsJanuary 30, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 31, 2013) -- When joining a fitness center or gym, it is important to know how to exercise properly and learn how to use strength training and cardiovascular machines safely and effectively.
For this reason, the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fitness Center offered a Teen Strength Program for youths 13-15 years of age Jan. 22, 24, and 25.
The fitness center allows teens, 16 years and older, to use the fitness center facilities without a parent or guardian. Once the younger teens complete the training, they will be able to use the facilities at the fitness center without a parent or guardian, one of the main attractions of the program.
"We offer this course once a year," Recreation Aid Karina Wigger said. "Parents were really pushing for the program this year. We have a record number of teens."
The purpose of the program is to help motivate teens to learn about keeping fit and healthy.
"Obesity is a major problem," Mike Cronin, West Point firefighter and fitness trainer, said. "Kids are cooped up all the time and this program helps to get them out of the house. It's not about being an Olympian, but about keeping fit."
Keeping fit means that, at a minimum, people should get 30 minutes of exercise three or four times a week, even if that means just going for a walk.
Grace Glen likes the idea of working out at the fitness center, especially without an adult chaperone.
"I can exercise when it's not sports season," Glen said. "And I don't need to have a parent around."
Glen participates in basketball, soccer and track. Anna Hanus, who also enjoys track and basketball, said she is excited to use the fitness center.
"I'm getting enough exercise, but it will be nice to use the equipment here," she said. "I enjoy spinning."
The program begins with an hour-long discussion on the importance of safety, such as warming up before exercising and proper breathing.
Using proper form when exercising is important to avoid injury and to the effectiveness of the exercise, especially on strength training machines. With most exercises, people tend to build up a sweat, so hydration is important to replace the fluids your body needs.
The other two days were directed to what they learned in the discussion, such as the proper use of machines.
Cronin introduced the teens to the strength and cardiovascular machines and showed them how to operate and use them using the proper form.
Although many of the teens are into sports through middle school, it's hoped the teen program will motivate teens into thinking about a lifetime of working on fitness and good health.