Yes. Doing weight or strength training for children is beneficial to their health and development. There are many benefits to strength training when you are younger and these benefits are not just for young athletes.
First things first let’s address some of the myths out there around strength training for children and teenagers.
- It does not stunt your growth.
- You dont become bulky and slow you down.
- Is not a high risk exercise when it comes to getting injured.
Strength training and athletic development of children and teenagers are not just about improving sporting performance. There are many health benefits to trying to develop “athletically” at younger age even if your child is not interested in sports.
What are the benefits of strength training for children and teenagers
Greater Bone Density
Strength training is a brilliant way to help improve bone density in children and teenagers. Improving bone density is an important part of childhood. Better bone density means better bone health. All through childhood we were told to drink our milk for healthier bones. Well, strength training is more effective in improving bone health. Of course, calcium and vitamin D help too. But, on their own, they are not the most effective way to improve bone health in children.
Why is it so important to work on bone health at a young age? Well, by the end of adolescence your bone density is somewhat set for life and starts to decrease from there. Now, that’s not to say it’s unsalvageable in adulthood. But, give your child the head start if you can. Having better bone health through adolescence helps to reduce the chances of getting fractures. Not only fractures that occur at a young age but fractures later in life too. Better bone health earlier means better bone health later too.
Why is it important to avoid fractures? Well I mean there’s the common sense part of this. Fractures hurt. But, fractures also mean time away from doing what you love. If your children can avoid them they can keep playing sports, keep active and keep playing which is vital to their development.
Reduced risk of injury
While “injury” is very much a term linked to sports. Injuries can happen every day of the life of children and teenagers who aren’t playing sports. These injuries can vary from sprains to fractures to growing injuries.
Strength training helps to avoid fractures by improving bone density. It helps to reduce the chances of sprains by building strength in the ligaments around joints like the ankle. And, it helps to reduce the chances of having growing injuries like severs or Osgood-Schlatter’s by increasing lean muscle tissue around the joints where the long bones grow rapidly around the ages of 12-14.
Having a higher lean muscle mass and lower levels of adipose tissues is not just for sporting and athletic reasons. It can help reduce growing pain and the pressure on joints as your child grows. Muscle mass is less likely to increase rapidly before puberty starts. Instead, your child will be gaining strength from an improved central nervous system.
Muscle mass then will grow as puberty starts. With their growth spurt strength, training and building muscle will help support your child’s bones and joints to reduce aches and pains.
Improved cardiovascular health
Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke are generally associated with adults or even older adults. But, starting with good health heart habits like strength training at a young age can help reduce the risks are your children grow up.
Strength training when programmed properly is not just about growing muscle mass. It will also improve aerobic capacity and reduce adipose tissues. Low aerobic capacity and increased levels of adipose tissues are directly linked to increased risk of cardiovascular issues going forward.
Strength training isn’t all about losing weight though it is about being healthy. Recent research shows that it is better to have good exercise habits and carry extra adipose tissue than it is to have low levels of exercise and be skinny.
Improved motor skills
A long-term training plan which includes strength training can help improve coordination and motor skills. Mostly gross motor skills are improved. This may seem like a more sport-specific benefit of strength training but it is also applicable to less sporty children and teenagers.
Improved motor skills improve coordination. This is helpful for all children and teenagers for two reasons. Firstly, better coordination means being less clumsy. Being less clumsy reduces the chances of avoidable injuries from trips and falls.
Secondly, even if your child isn’t into sports most children’s games especially in older primary school years involve some level of coordination or athletic ability. Having good strength and coordination from training can help non-athletic children to be more comfortable playing games at school and help them to have a more rounded social outlet at school.
If you would like information on starting the young person in your life on a Strength & Conditioning program please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone 086 787 6358 or email firstname.lastname@example.org