Is Working Out Safe For Children and Teens?

Posted on July 7, 2008 | by

Considering that being overweight or obese is now epidemic among our nation’s children, encouraging daily exercise as a means to help kids control their weight is extremely important.

In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that children and teens get in at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every single day as part of a healthy lifestyle.

If your question is specifically regarding the safety of strength training in children and teens, strength training can be a wonderful form of exercise for kids. It can provide numerous benefits such as strengthening their bones, improving their self-esteem and boosting their metabolism, to name just a few. But is it safe?

The Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness recently published a policy statement in the journal Pediatrics that addresses this question (you can download the article in PDF form here). The take-away message is that children and teens can safely enjoy strength-training programs, provided they:

  • Have medical clearance from their personal physician.
  • Have strict supervision by certified personnel qualified in pediatric strength training, to ensure proper technique.
  • Avoid any potentially unsafe maneuvers such as maximal lifts.
  • Include warm-up, cool-down and proper nutrition (including hydration).
  • Begin with no resistance until proper technique is learned.
  • Follow a general strength-training regimen that addresses all the major muscle groups.

To sum things up, a strictly supervised program of strength training using lighter weights and controlled movement is a safe and beneficial recommendation for kids and teens that may just provide the fuel for a lifetime of better health and fitness.

  • Have medical clearance from their personal physician.
  • Have strict supervision by certified personnel qualified in pediatric strength training, to ensure proper technique.
  • Avoid any potentially unsafe maneuvers such as maximal lifts.
  • Include warm-up, cool-down and proper nutrition (including hydration).
  • Begin with no resistance until proper technique is learned.
  • Follow a general strength-training regimen that addresses all the major muscle groups.

To sum things up, a strictly supervised program of strength training using lighter weights and controlled movement is a safe and beneficial recommendation for kids and teens that may just provide the fuel for a lifetime of better health and fitness.


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