Monday, July 22, 2013

Guest Post: When Should Kids Be Allowed to Start Weight Training

Developing fitness, strength and healthy habits is important for kids. Weight training is one method that can be done at any pace and any difficulty to suit your child’s abilities and goals. But when is the right time to begin and why should you encourage your kids to train?




What is Weight Training?


Not to be confused with bodybuilding or weightlifting that we see many adults take up, which often deal with lifting extreme weights, weight training is simply a method of training to increase strength using the resistance of weights rather than to build muscle or lift as heavy a weight as possible.


What are the Benefits for Kids?


Weight training in children helps to build overall strength and helps to improve the function of nerves and muscles, promoting motor-unit activation and improving the ability of nerves in activating more muscles.

Weight training can also help to prevent sporting injuries in kids and can be especially helpful for young athletes by strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments so that they are prepared for physical activity and well equipped to deal with the strain and stresses caused by movement and sport.


When to Start?


While popular belief can be anti weight training for children, in truth developing a child’s strength should be encouraged for all kids. Generations ago, and throughout history, kids built their strength from an early age through every-day life – their daily tasks were more physically demanding, for example, helping with chores around the property, doing yard work, carrying groceries; our lives in general were more labour-intensive than they are now and children got their share of strength-building activities.

Nowadays, for the most part, kids spend a lot of time at the computer, studying at their desks, watching TV, and don’t get much of a workout unless they’re training or playing sport. This means that they’re not strengthening tissue or building motor skills in the same way that daily life used to enable, so setting your child some gentle strength training is greatly beneficial to developing their physical capabilities and helping safeguard against them injuring themselves when they do play sport.

The age of 7 is generally considered a decent age at which to get an early start at training, and between ages 7 – 12 is considered a prime window during which kids’ nervous systems are developing and particularly receptive to training, while kids at these ages are often keen to learn and have a lot of fun getting the exercise.


Help your Child get the Best Start


It’s important to start your child off with training properly. One good option is to sign your kids up for classes with a trained adult, where they can learn new methods of training, make friends and get involved in team activities. If regular classes aren’t practical or affordable for you, then it’s recommended that you take your child for at least one session with a PT who has experience working with kids and can teach you and your kid how to safely and correctly train for optimal result and enjoyment. Make sure you attend and take note so that you can help your child and ensure they’re following the guidelines for keeping safe and training healthily.



If you’re a keen parent who’s ready to kick-start your child’s fitness and encourage a healthy lifestyle then contact your nearest Medicare Local to find out what kind of youth services are provided in your area for kids’ fitness. Health is a necessity for every child, so give your kids the best chance at forming healthy habits and healthy bodies. 

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