Ok, don’t freak out….I don’t make Max lift weights but on this night before we went up to bed he grabbed mine (5 lbs each) and said “wait mommy I want to get big and strong first!” Of course I thought this was the best thing in the world because I want him to understand that lifting weights or running, whatever the movement is, that it is and should be normal and not the exception. I want him from this young age to enjoy physical activity and to talk about the nutritional benefits of what food he is eating. He is able to name different sources of proteins on the spot when asked, knows the difference between a “good carb and a bad carb” and has for some time now. I know, I’m too extreme right? I don’t think so. Habits form now so now is the time to be extreme if that is what you want to call it. Check out some of exercises’ benefits and risk factors that I found while doing research for my personal training exam and decide for yourself!
Some benefits that I was not fully aware of that I found included improved brain function and memory along with a stronger immune system. Also, I believe most importantly, the building of confidence and self-esteem along with helping to ensure they maintain a healthy weight. Just one hour per day can achieve all of this. It even helps with depression and anxiety because exercise naturally makes you happy!
Some risks that I found were not many but one I focused on was the risk of “over doing it”. If you take a child that has been sedentary for quite some time and thrust them into vigorous physical activity the greater the chance of them getting injured will be. If weight/strength training then I would say that the risks will be lower if the strength training is supervised and focuses on slowly gaining muscle and flexibility. Weights can be started at age 7 or 8 as long as the child is able to follow the plan and directions that have been outlined to reduce the risk of injury. I would say it is definitely safe and effective best when taken lightly with more reps as the goal. A risk to exercise is always injury, I suppose, and in children you risk maybe stunting their growth if certain bones become broken. So its best to start out by playing, running, doing pull ups in the park or climbing, etc. Slowly build up the muscles, strength and flexibility to reduce the risk. Children should also be taught to stretch properly and warm up/ cool down to avoid injury. In conclusion there are great benefits to children exercising and the risks can be minimized with proper measures and guidelines.
Encourage your kids to workout or “kill it” as a family together! DFTBA!