What is safer for children? Strength training or watching TV? Some might argue that watching TV is safer because the child isn’t moving and risking injury. However, studies show that strength training, when done under qualified supervision and appropriately sized workout equipment, can provide immediate and long-term positive effects. So how young are we talking here?  Well, the general rule of thumb is if you child is participating in sports and is capable of taking instructions then they are old enough.  To set a minimum age wouldn’t be applicable because like teens and adults everyone progresses at their own rate.  Also when I talk about strength training, I’m referring to a weight the child can lift safety for 8-15 reps.  So bodyweight, bands and very light resistance.   Just enough to trigger the nervous system to make connections to the muscles.

Let’s dive into the reasoning and assume that children engaging in strength training are doing so in a supervised environment with appropriately sized equipment.

  • Decrease the risk of injury while playing sports. Like the weekend warrior, if you take a child from doing relatively nothing to playing a sport where they put forth a real effort without the proper muscle development or coordination, the child will more than likely end up hurt. Strength training will help that child develop coordination and develop the growing muscles. Strength training could also enhance sports performance which could lead to more activity from the child outside of the sport.
  • Increase bone density. We all heard growing up to drink your milk for strong bones, well strength training does the same thing. Strength training adds stress to the bone so the body responds by increasing the density of the bones making them harder and less likely to break.
  • Better body composition. We all know there is a severe obesity problem in today’s world. Too much easy food and not enough moving around. A good way to combat this is strength training.   Strength training = more muscles which helps burn calories even when the exercise itself is done.   Even though the child might not have the best diet, the muscles they have developed can help with keeping the child in a healthy weight range.
  • Self-Esteem. As a parent, you always want your child to not fall into depression and have a positive outlook on life. Reasons 1 and 3 above are a good starter for a life of positive self esteem. Who wouldn’t like to be the fastest kid in class or the highest jumper in a basketball league.
  • Developing good habits. What better time to make a change in the future then to get to the people that will eventually run this world? Teaching children how to be the best through proper eating, thinking positively and hard work sets them up for success throughout their lives. This all can be accomplished by strength training. In order to recover properly from lifting weights you need a balanced diet. In order to progress to lift heavier weights you need to think positively and want to succeed. And finally it will show children that when you put in hard work, good things will come.

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