Thursday, 18 October 2012

Let the young run free

Martina Hingis, Lebron James, Tiger Woods and Pele are just some of the people, that whilst under the age of 13, had already taken the world by storm.

This is where it all starts, these are the years that can determine the rest of their lives.  Children are too often subjected to Playstations, iPads and Mylie Cyrus when they should be climbing ropes, playing on jungle gyms and standing on their heads.

Many parents today are under the impression that exercise and training can be detrimental to their little snowflakes.  I agree, 5 days a week of heavy weights and constant stress on the body, can be adverse to the bodies of our developing youth. However functional bodyweight training, mobility, flexibility, and motor skills are only going to benefit the little people physically, socially and mentally in the long term.

How many Olympic gymnasts started their training at 21 years old?  These incredibly versatile athletes were exercising their muscles from the age of 3 whilst increasing bone density, improving cardio vascular function and promoting their motor skills.  No detriment caused there later in life, that's for sure.

The word that seems to send most parents over the edge, causing a complete state of anxiety and rapid breathing is 'strength'.

Lets break this down, strength: The quality or state of being strong, having physical power and energy.

Oh goodness no, we wouldn't want that for our children.  Yes, I'll admit, I am not a parent, but I am a professional who has spent time studying the cause and effect of stress on the human body, both young and old.

Firstly lets not confuse strength training with weight lifting or powerlifting, this definitely can put strain on young developing muscles, tendons and developing cartilage that hasn't yet turned to bone, when being done in the incorrect manner.  However at a very young age, when exercising using their own bodyweight, this will increase their muscle and endurance whilst strengthening their joints.  Remember that children recover quicker from stress on their bodies, faster than you EVER will again in your life.

Supervised, practical exercise is going to build a foundation for a healthy life, and focusing on flexibility exercises are going to help children perform better in all aspects and help them avoid injury.  Whilst strength training through bodyweight exercises will increase their bone density, develop a natural power, and promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the list goes on and on of benefits surrounding your child's growth and the advantages of training and exercise in the earliest days.

Make the switch, encourage your offspring to get physical, not just in sporting activities but get them involved in practical exercise that will get them hooked on vibrant living.

Let your children start their life, how you always wished you could.

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