Youth Fitness Facts
Myth: Children should not engage in fitness activities because of their age or inexperience.
Fact: Strength training in children has been shown to be extremely beneficial when closely monitored by a trained or experienced adult and when following age-appropriate strength training guidelines.
“The two most important factors when considering a strength training program for a youngster are adult supervision and age-appropriate exercises,” said Dan FitzSimons, owner and trainer at BodyFitz Personal Training Studio. “A certified adult personal trainer, such as those at BodyFitz, should ALWAYS be present when a young person is engaging in strength training exercises, and that adult or trainer should not be instructing more than a small group of two or three youngsters at a time. Similarly, the exercises should not exceed what the youth is capable of performing at his or her age.”
In addition to the numerous scientific studies that suggest that fitness activities are beneficial for young persons, many parents also see the benefits of engaging their children in exercise programs because they want their children to grow up more knowledgeable and with increased skillsets than they had.
The benefits that young individuals can expect from participating in a fitness program include:
- Increased muscular endurance and strength
- Improved bone density
- Improved coordination and skillsets
- Enhanced sports performance
- Better overall health and wellness, including increased confidence, happiness and self-esteem
While there is no minimum age at which a child can begin a strength training program, it is usually recommended that they begin when they have the ability to listen and follow instructions. As early as age 7, a child can reap the benefits of neuromuscular development and enhanced movement patterns.
According to Dan, there is no evidence to suggest that a child’s participation in a strength training or general fitness program will increase their risk of injury. In fact, just the opposite is true. “It is when a child is not being closely supervised and performs exercises with poor technique that they are at greatest risk of injury,” he said. “But when a child is given proper instruction and is performing the exercises correctly, the entire process can be fun, and the results are priceless!”
For more information about beginning a strength training program for your child, call BodyFitz at (404) 255-4008 or visit www.bodyfitz.com.