Let’s talk about weight training for the kiddos today.
Do the accrued health benefits for health span, how long you stay able and capable – healthy, from weight training for adults help kids in the same or even a similar way?
It seems like an important question with the increased obesity of the population, especially the younger and the upcoming generations of kids and adolescents.
The Mayo Clinic reports that the strength training does, in fact, maintain some benefits for children with some caveats, justifications. It can, first and foremost and most important in the value structure of North American society, improve the way one looks and feels.
Kids want that, potentially even more than the adults. It would seem so with the adolescents. If the habits are inculcated early enough, then the kids may actually develop habits for a longer and healthier lifespan. They can stick around longer and walk and lift things while they do it.
The article states, “Don’t confuse strength training with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These activities are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than those of other athletes”
If a young person paces too much strain on the functional structure of their body, it can have long-term impacts, e.g. damage to the muscles, tendons and cartilage of the young person. The point is proper training, especially if going over the top with the amount of the weight for the young person.
“For kids, light resistance and controlled movements are best — with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety. Your child can do many strength training exercises with his or her own body weight or inexpensive resistance tubing. Free weights and machine weights are other options,” the professionals recommend.
If done with the proper technique, pace, and weight for the kid, this can, improve the endurance and strength and performance in a sport, strengthen the bones, protect muscles and joints from various sports-related injuries of the kid, even give them better technique and form for the future – as these properly developed techniques in early life.
In terms of the ‘right’ time to start with the training, the Mayo Clinic explained, “During childhood, kids improve their body awareness, control and balance through active play. As early as age 7 or 8, however, strength training can become a valuable part of an overall fitness plan — as long as the child is mature enough to follow directions and practice proper technique and form.”
Even with the preparedness of the child in terms of their mind set, it is important to bear in mind the forms in which damage or stress to their young tissues can take place. A parent or guardian should take caution in the potentials for injury, which may last a long time.
Not only this, the child should be warned in an assertive, caring, and compassionate manner as well, especially tone. You are the parent after all.
Some of the basic instructions from the article include the seeking of proper instruction for your child, a warm up and cool down series for the exercises – like an on and off switch, maintaining a light load, emphasizing the proper technique, supervision of the child while they lift heavy weights, and then the rest between workouts with the attitude of keeping this fun More details in full below:
Seek instruction. Start with a coach or personal trainer who has experience with youth strength training. The coach or trainer can create a safe, effective strength training program based on your child’s age, size, skills and sports interests. Or enroll your child in a strength training class designed for kids.
Warm up and cool down. Encourage your child to begin each strength training session with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic activity, such as walking, jogging in place or jumping rope. This warms the muscles and prepares them for more-vigorous activity. Gentle stretching after each session is a good idea, too.
Keep it light. Kids can safely lift adult-size weights, as long as the weight is light enough. In most cases, one or two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions is all it takes. The resistance doesn’t have to come from weights, either. Resistance tubing and body-weight exercises, such as pushups, are other effective options.
Stress proper technique. Rather than focusing on the amount of weight your child lifts, stress proper form and technique during each exercise. Your child can gradually increase the resistance or number of repetitions as he or she gets older.
Supervise. Adult supervision by someone who knows proper strength training technique is an important part of youth strength training. Don’t let your child go it alone.
Rest between workouts. Make sure your child rests at least one full day between exercising each specific muscle group. Two or three strength training sessions a week are plenty.
Keep it fun. Help your child vary the routine to prevent boredom.
Results won’t come overnight. Eventually, however, your child will notice a difference in muscle strength and endurance — which might fuel a fitness habit that lasts a lifetime.
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Image Credits: Getty Images