Strength training: The Centers for Disease Control have estimated that around 16% of six to nineteen-year-olds in the US are overweight or obese. This comes from inactivity, no movement, exercise, and poor diet. On the other end, young athletes search for ways to gain an edge, often falling victim to steroids and all of the negative effects they have.
This is where strength training comes in. This could be an answer to getting kids off the couch, moving, and offers a healthy alternative to the young athletes looking for that competitive edge. Fitness experts, doctors, health coaches, and parents say absolutely.
This type of workout program can be done with:
The focus for children in strength training is not to bulk up, as this is not weightlifting, powerlifting, or bodybuilding. Fitness experts agree that these types of training regimens are not healthy or safe for children. The goal is to:
Added benefits of strength training can help young athletes improve performance through increased endurance.
It is fundamental to find a program that is safe and successful for children. Parents want a program designed specifically for kids supervised by a fitness professional with child experience, and most of all, it is fun. For strength training, there is not a minimum age; however, the kids should understand and follow directions.
Before starting a child on any new fitness program, check with their doctor or healthcare provider.
Strength training was not always considered an appropriate exercise for kids. Doctors and fitness professionals believed that it was unsafe for a child’s growing body because of the added pressure on growth plates or the cartilage that has not fully turned into solid bone. However, experts now know that kids can safely participate in a strength training program with proper technique and supervision.
As with any exercise/fitness regiment, safety measures need to be in place along with heightened supervision. Unfortunately, most injuries happen when kids are not supervised, not using proper techniques, or from trying to lift too much weight. Here are some safety precautions to remember:
In a strength training program for children, there should be no competitive drive. Instead, the focus should be on participation, learning the movements, and positive reinforcement. Set realistic goals and expectations for the child to understand that it will take time to learn these new skills.
Remember that kids do not increase muscle size until after puberty. Please make sure the kids enjoy the strength training sessions and that they are having fun. Keep in mind that kids can become easily bored. Therefore, use various exercises and routines, keeping them excited and wanting to learn and do more.
Getting kids interested in fitness early on can help establish a life-long habit of wanting to be and stay healthy. This includes a balanced diet, plenty of rest, and regular exercise. When done correctly, strength training can be a fun and highly beneficial activity.
The information herein on "Kids and Strength Training" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
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