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When Should Children Start Working Out?

An increasing number of kids are showing an interest in beginning a fitness program. This is a healthy prospect, as media reports of obesity rates in children are alarming. While it’s never too early to encourage a child to be active, a more regimented program that might include some weight training should probably not begin until the child is between nine and 12 years of age.

Prior to that age, the majority of children do not have the balance, coordination and general control that are essential to ensure safe weight-training practices. In addition, younger children frequently lack the attention span and more sophisticated understanding that are necessary for taking cues from an experienced coach. Although some children may be ready to start a training program at the age of nine, others may be happier just being active and exploring movement until they are ready for more structure.

When a child begins exercising with weights, individual attention makes all of the difference. Studies show that most weight training injuries in children occur when they are not supervised and are not properly using equipment. Accordingly, it’s vital for children to receive individual attention that focuses on proper form.

Children typically begin training with light weights and strive for a higher number of repetitions. If a child is struggling with eight reps, then the weight they are using is too heavy. Gradually, the child can work up to 15 reps with the same weight before moving to a weight that is heavier by 10 percent.

Children 12 and older can begin to use heavier weights. With the onset of puberty and the production of hormones, muscle growth may begin soon afterward.

This is the perfect time to introduce the child to the concept of personal training. Personal trainers have undergone extensive education that enables them to teach others about proper form and technique. Additionally, personal training gives the child the individual attention that they need during these critical formative years. Learning about good health habits at an early age is an excellent way to encourage children to lead a healthy life throughout adulthood.

Of course, a true fitness program cannot be complete without other components. A personal trainer is an expert when it comes to proper weight lifting form, but they also possess specialized knowledge when it comes to nutrition. They educate and encourage children with regard to a proper diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with lean proteins and whole grains. The personal trainer helps the child to see healthy foods as fuel for the activities they want to do. Moreover, children receive guidance about dealing with stress and the importance of getting quality sleep.

Getting kids up off of the couch with a healthy program of physical activity is always a good idea. By the time the child is between the ages of nine and 12, they are probably ready to try a more structured program that will help them to develop healthy habits for a lifetime.