Will lifting weights stunt their growth?
Will taking them out for runs over stress their little skeletons?
Will jumping on boxes wear out their knees?
The science is absolutely conclusive: lifting weights; jumping; running; tumbling; are more than just safe. They’re CRITICALLY important to develop bone density, muscle mass and metabolism in kids.
But the myths about lifting weights harming growth plates, tightening young muscles or compressing their skeletons persist. These are sticky old myths with no scientific backing that are still repeated by old coaches. So here’s how I think about lifting weights and doing higher-impact exercise with our kids.
Just for a moment imagine your grandfather’s or grandmothers life at the age 12, 14 or 16. What would they be doing all year round?
My grandfather, who grew up on a farm, from the age of 12 onwards, as well as schooling, had daily tasks he needed to complete. Be it lifting in hay bails, wrestling sheep in to stalls, carrying large earns of milk for collection. All done without a warm up, no pre-exercise prep mix, and no £100 trainers to do it all in. I am sure he would look at the job I do and ask why it’s needed, but life has changed, and we have become less active in our day to day lives..
There are old mythes flying around that hard work (exercise) stunts a kids growth? It came from a ridiculous “study” done in 1842 (when Tony Dobson was born) in which some chaps visited coal mines in which little kids worked for 16 hours per day, bent over, in low light, with almost no food. They got rickets, they got hunchbacks, they got the black lung. Most, sadly, died before age 30.
We know better now. The reality is that kids who run, jump, play, pull and lift stuff have FAR fewer injuries than kids who don’t. They develop a strong metabolism that will help them beat diabetes and obesity-related conditions later in life. They’re more resistant to dangerous viruses, and bounce back faster when they get sick. The bone density they develop before age 18 can prevent osteoporosis when they’re 80. And so on.
Our duty to our kids is to help them build a body that works better for longer.
The body they create before age 18 can carry them toward health at age 58…or toward illness. It’s sad, but it’s true.
The best exercise for kids is constantly varied; functional; and fun. If they WANT to exercise, you’ve won. There’s nothing better than an excited face in the back seat on your way to training, football or the pool, you just have to make it happen!
You can make there life less complicated if you introduce them to fun fitness from an early age, they also carry this into adulthood!