Workout tips for kids

January 4, 2009 8:34:28 PM PST
You wouldn't necessarily link kids with weight training, but that could just be their key to success. Fredrick Hahn, the owner of Serious Strength Personal Training Studios and author of "Strong Kids Healthy Kids," joined us with tips. My book focuses on 3 main points:

1-Weight lifting (aka strength training) is totally safe for kids of any age. It is a myth that it harms growth plates and stunts growth. In fact, the exact opposite is true.
2-Weight lifting enhances sports play making young athletes faster, stronger, more enduring and enhances resistant to sports injuries. This is especially good for young women and for kids. It also improves confidence and self esteem in kids who feel less robust than others as well as for obese children who typically feel incapable of playing sports.
3-Weight lifting is superior to aerobic activity for reversing adolescent obesity. Combined with my eating plan, adolescent obesity and type II diabetes can be virtually eliminated.

Q: We've all heard that weight lifting is dangerous for kids - you say that it's not. Are you saying that the dangers we've all heard about are just myths?

A: That's right - just myths. There is not a single reported case of damage to growth plates in medical literature. In fact, weight lifting is shown in numerous research studies to enhance bone and muscle growth. Like anything else, you want to do it safely. I recommend a child lifts weights in a slow and controlled manner until the muscles are as tired as possible. I call it reaching 'muscular success.'

Q: What are some other benefits?

A: Weight lifting will also enhance sports performance making a child run the bases faster, jump higher on the court, have more endurance in running, etc. This is true for any sport. It also improves resistance to sports injuries and builds confidence and self esteem. In fact, many kids who are not active because they feel less robust than other kids gain a sense that with their improved strength, they might be able to play a sport that they shied away from before. Weight lifting is also shown to be the single most effective exercise for reversing obesity in kids.

Q: Is this something a child has to do everyday? How often should a child weight lift and what would a child typically do?

A: The beauty of weight lifting is that it need only be done 1-2 times a week for a little as 15 minutes for kids as well as adults. The reason - muscles and bones become stronger and denser when resting, not when exercising. A few examples are squats, pushups, shoulder presses. (My daughter could demo these at this point.) It's good for kids to lift weights and doing it together with their parent or caregiver is a fantastic way to keep them strong, lean and healthy for life.

The book also includes a chapter on how to help your child eat healthfully - real food instead of fake foods - with sample recipes and other resources. Poor eating habits, usually from eating too much sugar and carbs, is the cause of the rising tide of over fat children not inactivity.

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