Myths About Fitness and Children
As a parent we have all been there, wondering if we are doing the right thing for our children, wondering if they get enough exercise, are eating the right foods, and sleeping enough? The questions that plague our brains are endless! Today we are going to tackle a few myths that surround fitness.
This one is the number 1 question I hear all the time is ... WILL STRENGTH TRAINING STUNT MY CHILDS GROWTH? The answer… NO!
Push-ups, planks, squats, chin-ups, lunges ... these are all fine. Your children are used to carting their own body weight so this isn’t an issue. Adding a little weight into their hands shouldn't change this. I do however recommend that this is done under the watchful eye of a certified trainer, and not for the reasons you think. Yes, anyone can get hurt doing anything. My reasoning is more that bad habits are easy to form and hard to break, and having someone there to watch, teach and help execute each exercise will prevent injuries and bad form.
As for lifting the really heavy weights, and Olympic lifting, this is based on a few things: maturity, coordination, balance, overall strength and your sport. Long gone are the old school messages that our parents taught us, that lifting will stunt your growth. If done properly under supervision, weight lifting can be very beneficial to young athletes looking to excel in their sport or for overall fitness.
Training in the morning is better than at night
Weird but we get this question a lot. To be honest, this is all based on your child and their energy level. Only you know when they are dialed in and ready to workout, so focus on that. We always say no two kids are alike, so work with their schedule. After all, you want them to get the most out of their workouts.
Stretch before working out
Actually the answer is no, and here’s why. Muscles need to be warmed up before they are stretched. If you over-stretch a cold muscle, injuries can occur. Before your child starts their workout, make sure they do a proper warm up that starts with some form of light cardio like a jog followed by dynamic stretches that warm up the muscles they will be using during their workouts. After their workout when their muscles are nice and warm, they can do a cool down by performing static stretches.
My child gets enough exercise at school. MAYBE?
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines state that for healthy growth and development, children should be accumulating more than 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. I know recess can be fun but how intense is it? How do we know if our children are running that whole time? The answer is we don’t, so adding a supplementary activity wont hurt them. It can be as simple as going for a bike ride with them after school, to a hike in the forest. The more they are moving, the better they will be in the long run.
I hope we have debunked a few myths surrounding fitness and children. Until next time Stay Fit Stay Healthy!
About the Author: Sue Forberg is the Director at H2T Elite Dryland Training Inc. H2T is a multi-faceted state of the art dryland facility specializing in children the ages 7-20. A gym for kids you say... absolutely. Their primary goal is to enhance the quality of life for young people through exercise and proper nutrition. H2T has created a fun age appropriate dryland program that gives every child what he/she needs from a developmental standpoint. Find out more at www.H2Tdryland.com.