It’s important to teach your children the importance of exercise at an early age. It should be incorporated into their daily lives both in forms of regular exercise and activities that involve walking and other forms of exertion in order for it to count.
This kind of lifestyle makes regular exercise a habit for your children at an early age. Habits that have been established at a young age stand a very likely chance of enduring into adulthood. Even if they stray away from this when they are adults, there is still a likely chance that they will remember the benefits of exercise and return to it in time.
Any parent who truly cares for his or her children will ask how early children should be exposed to regular exercise. This question is especially important when it involves more strenuous exercises like strength training, weightlifting and long-distance running.
Exercise and Competition
Children are quite naturally full of energy and will tend to get plenty of exercise just by playing and spending some time outdoors. Usually, children aren’t brought into any kind of situation where they receive regular, scheduled exercise until about the age of six.
Although there are arguments as to when children should begin kindergarten, this is generally the time when kids are forced to start taking part in exercise sessions. These activities are generally very good for children, building a solid foundation for strong bones and muscles.
Generally, the exercise that comes with going to school during the first elementary school years is enough to keep most children sufficiently active and healthy. Things begin to change as they rise to higher levels of education and competition becomes associated with exercise. By the time children reach the fifth or sixth grade, sports and games are played at a competitive level and sports training can easily be a regular part of your child’s life. This is when a parent’s guidance can be so indispensable.
The fact of the matter is, children grow and mature at different rates. It’s been well known in the medical community that girls mature on a physical and even mental and psychological level faster than boys do. At the same time, girls don’t have the skeletal and muscular structure that supports vigorous exercise like boys do. However, there can be exceptions to this general rule. At the end of the day, it’s up to us parents to keep track of the amount and kinds of exercise our children are getting while so young; whether they are of the extracurricular nature or otherwise.
Strength and Weight Training
There has been a general misconception in the past few decades that strength training and weight training could stunt a child’s growth if it is done too early in life. As more about puberty and the human body has been discovered through scientific and medical studies, this assumption had to be thrown out.
It is generally very safe and even healthy for children to begin strenuous exercise sessions on a regular basis as early as the ages of 13 to 14 years old. Once again, this depends on the physical development of the child in consideration. However, as long as there is no needless or destructive overexertion, there is nothing to worry about.
The risk of overexertion should be kept at bay by our careful observations of our children. It can be easy for a coach or oven a Physical Education (PE) teacher to get carried away while training children in sports, especially if his or her job depends on the school administration’s perceived success of the sports training. Not to say that any of these individuals would intentionally cause injury or harm to a child. These simply are not their children and they might not be as concerned about them as they probably should be.
That being said, most gyms that are equipped with weight training equipment do not let children under the age of 13 use their facilities. This is a general rule in most states and cities in the country that are managed by responsible and knowledgeable staff.
So don’t be afraid if your child or children show signs of being particularly physically inclined. It will actually help them build strong skeletal and muscle systems that will serve them well into their old age.