Obesity in children is at an all-time high. One in three children are now considered obese. Lack of activity, poor nutritional habits, and lack of guidance (parents and schools not being effective role models) are the primary culprits. Unfortunately, just like adults, many children are placed on restrictive diets and exercise programs that don’t motivate or cause serious injuries.
Children weight training and stunt growth!
When a child is obese or out of shape, he or she would be better served being placed on a “treatment” program that involves resistance training, a “fun” cardiovascular program, and a supportive nutrition plan. Some believe weight lifting can stunt growth and break bones that are still developing. But scientific studies have proven the contrary. Lifting weights can actually increase bone density and enhance bone development. In a 10-month study involving 9-10 year-old girls, bone mineral density increased 6.2% compared to about 1.4% to those who did not strength train at all (Morris et al.).
Why kids prefer resistance training over traditional exercises
Parents may prefer calisthenic exercises such as push-ups over lifting weights. But calisthenic exercises can be very hard to complete (one of the reason’s I wish they would abolish the old President Councils Test) due to the child’s lack of strength to push or pull his or her own body weight. Lifting lighter loads with dumbbells or using resistive bands can be less intimidating and easier to accomplish. Children also perceive these things as more fun.
Most kids (that are out of shape) don’t like to run long distances
You may want you’re kids just to walk or run. However, most kids (even if they like to run) like to run in fast, but short intervals. Sustained activity, such as walking on a treadmill or walking at the park can become tedious and tiring. Injuries are also more likely to occur in these type of activities as well. The second problem is that aerobic exercise will not strengthen muscles or increase metabolism.
How to get started:
Start out slowly, then increase the weight once an exercise becomes easy at 15 repetitions. It is also more important for your child to work out on non-consecutive days. Kids need more time to recover to prevent fatigue.
Typically, children at any age can lift weights 2-3 times a week, every other day. Usually, the earliest age is 8-9 years. Other activities can be included, such as cardiovascular exercise. However, kids need encouragement to stay motivated. Most importantly, they should be supervised by a professional.
Have you tried weight lifting with your kids? Let me know how it’s going?
view Kelly’s recent segment on CNN- Video