By Larysa DiDio, Healthful Living and Nutrition Expert
I just came across this article, thought it was interesting. What do you think about tweens weight training?
It was previously believed that young children shouldn’t do strength training because the stress could adversely affect the growth plates in their joints and prevent them from growing as they should. More recently, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics has reversed this advice and begun to recommend strength training–as long as it’s supervised and done correctly. However, strength training should not be confused with Olympic weight lifting. It isn’t about hoisting heavy loads–it’s about developing core strength and lean muscle.
So now that the docs are recommending weight training for kids, the next challenge is to convince the parents that it’s essential for their children to strength train. Especially their girls. In January 2007, the Journal of Pediatrics released the results of a study conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute indicating that tween girls were twice as likely as teens to be overweight and that 30 percent of overweight tweenagers would become obese by the age of eighteen. Pretty disturbing news especially because the study noted that they didn’t expect to find nearly as many overweight boys in the same age group for the following reasons: Boys are more likely to be more active than girls, and parents are also more likely to encourage boys to weight train because they want their sons to become stronger and more self assured. Parents of girls tend to worry that girls might become too “muscular” or that strength training simply isn’t an appropriate female activity. Unfortunately this isn’t true. Girls benefit as much if not more from strength training. They develop core body strength that improves their posture, reduces injury and increases lean muscle—all of which help our girls have a more positive body image, become more self confident and assured. In addition, studies have shown that it’s imperative for a girl to begin building bone as early as possible (when bones are beginning to develop) to ensure strong bones to fight osteoporosis.
The key to weight training is to begin slowly. Start off with body weight exercises such as squats, wall sits, modified push ups and dips, and then move to plate loaded machines and free weights. The best thing to do is to visit a local gym or ask a school coach or PE teacher to help design a program. Kids need to be stimulated so it’s important to have a variety of activities within the program, as well as to change the whole program every 4-6 weeks.
About the Author:
Larysa is an expert consultant in nutrition and healthful living, providing healthy fitness motivation for people from age 8 to 80! Her innovative Get Fit with Larysa fitness DVD for ‘tween girls is designed to build confidence and self esteem by inspiring young girls to exercise and live healthier lives. In addition, she contributes to Girls Life magazine and has become the “unofficial” fitness badge trainer for the Girl Scouts of America.
Recently, Larysa co-authored a book with bestselling author, Missy Lapine, entitled, Sneaky Fitness, Fun Foolproof Ways To Slip Fitness Into Your Child’s Everyday Life (Running Press, 2009). Combining exercise and good, healthy food, this revolutionary book has the whole package for moms looking to improve their family’s health. Larysa provides busy parents with 100 games and activities that will get any resistant child up and exercising. Larysa is also an accomplished business owner. Her fitness facility, PFX, has the distinction of being one of the first gyms to offer classes specifically tailored to kids, such as Boot Camp, Baby! and Get Fit for Prom—which has attracted national sponsorships, including Canyon Ranch, Lara Bar, Operation Fairy Dust, and Elle Magazine. Larysa has appeared on Good Day New York and in InStyle, Parenting, First For Women, and Destination Wedding Style magazines. In addition to her Get Fit With Larysa DVD for ‘tweens, she also created an exercise video series for Redbook. A mother of two, nine-year-old Nicholas and six-year-old Isabella, Larysa understands the significance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family.