Last’s month article on obesity was geared around our youth and their nutrition and exercise habits. As stated in the article, there is a significant growing concern in the
One of the leading causes of obesity in our children is inactivity. As our children reduce their activity time and adhere to more sedentary lifestyles, weight gain is inevitable. The opportunities to burn off calories for some children are diminishing, as sports teams continue to focus on producing high-caliber, competitive teams comprised of the best young male and female athletes and those kids just looking to have fun playing on a team or left out in the cold. Schools have also reduced physical education time, emphasizing academics at the expense of activity. Getting kids active is the key to preventing obesity, as well as, awareness in nutrition as another vital component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Strength training for children and adolescents is gaining in popularity as an effective means in helping develop healthier lifestyles, combating obesity, and also helping them prevent sports-related injuries that are on the rise in recreational activity. The
Youth Strength Training Guidelines: An instructor to child ratio of 1 to 10 is recommended. Have the child first perform a new exercise under close supervision to make sure that correct technique is performed. Perform calisthenics and stretches before and after every strength training session. Begin with 1 set of 10 to 15 repetitions on 6 to 8 exercises that focus on the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body. Start with light weight and high reps and increase the load and decrease the reps as strength improves. Maximal lifting is not recommended and is the major cause of injury with youth strength training. Two to three training sessions per week on nonconsecutive days is sufficient. Increase the weight gradually as strength improves. Generally two to five pound increases in weight is consistent with a 5% to 10% increase in training intensity. Progression can also be achieved by increasing the number of sets (up to 3) or number of exercises. Strength training should be one part of a total fitness program. Keep the fun in fitness and promote lifetime health.