Weight Lifting for Kids: How Young is too Young?
Thanks to internet marketing, the explosion in fitness-based advertisements has never been higher. Every time you visit Facebook or Google, you’re bound to see something health and fitness related pop up. This is especially true if you’ve ever searched for any fitness advice on Google since the company tracks your searches and provides you with the appropriate advertisement. You aren’t the only one seeing these advertisements. Kids are also bombarded with these same ads, which may prompt many kids to pursue a fitness career. Sure, that’s great but at what age is this reasonably appropriate? Let’s take a look at the debate for children, weight lifting, and when to start.
Possible Concerns for Kids and Weight Lifting
One of the most cited reasons for not allowing kids to get into weight training is that this type of exercise will impact growth in a negative way, especially if the child sustains an injury. Kids have plenty of growing left to do and so it’s a reasonable idea that you wouldn’t want anything to jeopardize that. The thing is that this idea was laid to rest after a study was published in Clinical Sports Medicine citing that weight lifting for kids may help boost bone health, improve motor functioning, and increase performance.
Another concern is over training. This is a big concern for adults, so imagine a child over training. While this is a very reasonable concern, it can be avoided with common sense and a good training program. The training program should allow sufficient rest periods for the youth so that muscle fibers, connective tissue, and the central nervous system have a chance to fully recover. Parents should monitor their child’s condition from day to day to ensure over training is not happening.
At What Age Should Kids Start Lifting?
There is not a set age for when kids should start weight training. This has everything to do with the fact that not every kid will develop and grow at the same rate. When considering whether it’s time to start your kids in weight lifting, first think about whether the child has shown interest in weight lifting. An interest in the sport will be a great asset as the child is more likely to listen to proper instruction and not take risks.
Also, consider your child’s development. Has he or she hit puberty yet? This is a delicate time and one that may actually be ideal to start weight lifting as the body is producing a spike in repair, growth, and recovery hormones.
Lastly, something to consider is the scientific community and the studies they provide. In many of the studies we looked at the youngest recorded age of a participant was 13 but it’s common knowledge that some children begin weight training as early as 8 years old. Perhaps, depending on your child’s development, the age you’re looking for is somewhere in the middle.
You can use this as a loose guide for deciding when it’s best to introduce your child to weight lifting. As mentioned above, when the child begins, keep a close eye on their condition and progress.
Tell Us What You Think!
Do you have a child who is into weight lifting?
Were you just a kid when you started?Let us know in the comments below