Is your kid a bundle of energy? Are you looking to engage him in some physical activity to help him develop his fitness and stamina? You can choose to get him enrolled in different sports and extra-curricular activities such as tennis, swimming, basketball, etc. But weight training for children? Have you ever heard of that before?
Keep reading to know if weight training for kids is really a good option.
Weight Training For Children – Is it Good?
In general, physical activity is thought to have many health benefits for kids, and it could also help protect against several diseases.When it comes to weight lifting, it is best postponed till the end of the growth stage. (1)
However, strength training could be a good alternative for kids who are energetic. Light and controlled movements with proper safety measures could actually have many health benefits including:
- Improved muscle strength.
- Better performance in a number of sports activities such as football and soccer.
- Stronger bones.
- Healthy blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
- Higher confidence and self esteem levels.
- Better protection against sports related injuries.
- Improved maintenance of a healthy weight. (2)
[ Read: Benefits Of Strength Exercises For Kids ]
The Correct Age For Weight Lifting:
The American Academy of Pediatrics and many exercise physiologists actually support resistance and strength training programs in young children. These exercises could actually have many benefits for the developing kid, and could possibly improve bone mineral density as well.
It is important to note that kids should avoid trying out repetitive maximal lifts until they have attained the age where their secondary sexual characteristics have started to develop. This is to ensure that the kid has passed his maximum velocity of height growth. (3)
Can Weight Lifting Compromise My Kid’s Growth?
If done in a safe and supervised manner, weight lifting and strength training do not affect the kid’s growth in any manner. There is still a bit of controversy revolving around this field, where a few experts and organizations believe that it is okay for kids to undergo weight training, while others are still sceptical about the fact that kids with developing skeletal systems are undergoing weight training.
It is therefore, best to avoid weight lifting during this age, and get your kid engaged in some other physical activity that is safe and suitable for his age group. (4)
The Risks Of Weight Lifting In Kids:
Kids weight training and strength training comes with a list of possible health risks, and as a parent, you may want to take them into consideration.
- Muscle strain makes up for 40-70% of all injuries arising during strength training.
- Injuries to the lower back, hand and the upper back are more common.
- Kids suffering from cardiomyopathy can have a risk of worsening condition.
- Kids who have also been subjected to chemotherapy may be at an increased risk of cardiac problems if they undergo resistance training.
- Kids suffering from seizure disorders should also consider avoiding weight training exercises unless they get an ‘okay’ from their doctor.
[ Read: Exercises For Kids ]
Overweight kids and kids suffering from any other major health disorder must also ensure that they carry out the weight training with proper supervision and guidance. (5)
It is a good idea to have a talk with your kid’s paediatrician and get professional advice about if it is okay to get your kid enrolled for weight lifting.
Weight training and physical activity could actually be a lot of help today, considering how technology has limited our activity. Growing kids need to engage in physical activity to keep themselves fit and healthy, and these activities could help motivate them to a good extent.
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