Strength training exercises may include the use of free weights, weight machines, elastic bands or body weight. Most parents are not aware of the tremendous benefits of strength training for children. Children at the age of 7 and above could start reaping the benefits of strength training exercises.
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Improved Muscle Brain Coordination
The benefits from strength training exercises for children outweigh the possible risks. Some of the benefits that can be derived from strength training exercises include improved muscular strength, endurance and flexibility.The increase in muscular strength does not come from increased muscle size. Rather it is attributed to better communication between the nervous system and the brain. In other words, strength training exercises provides better coordination between muscle and brain. This improved coordination also improves balance (Journal of Athletic Therapy Today)
An article was published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in the year 2000. The researchers concluded that as well as enhancing motor skills and sports performance, regular participation in youth resistance training exercises had the potential to positively influence several measurable indices of health. It helped strengthen bone, facilitate weight control, enhance psychosocial well-being, and improve one’s cardiovascular risk profile. Furthermore, a stronger musculoskeletal system will enable boys and girls to perform life’s daily activities with more energy and vigor. It may also increase a young athlete’s resistance to sports-related injuries.
Researchers investigated the effects of 8 weeks of strength training exercises on children who were overweight or obese. The average age of these children was 9.7 years. The participants consisted of 26 girls and 22 boys. The children performed 3 strength training exercise sessions in a week.
The researchers found that there was a significant increase in lean body mass. There was also a significant decrease in body fat. On average, the children were able to increase the number of push ups by almost 85%.
The researchers concluded that strength training exercises produced significant changes in body composition, strength and power. It was also well tolerated by the participants. The findings were published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
In an article published in June 2009 issue of the Journal of Sports Health, researchers found that children can improve their strength by 30 to 50% after just 8-12 weeks of doing strength training exercises. Other benefits derived from strength training included improved bone mineral density, body composition, balance, lipid profiles and self-esteem.
Increase Bone Density
Researchers conducted a 15 month study on female adolescents aged between 14 and 17 years. 46 girls went on a strength training program while another 21 were the control group. The strength training group did 3 exercise sessions per week with each session going from 30 to 45 minutes. The researchers concluded that strength training was a potential method for increasing bone density in adolescents.
One of the greatest benefits of strength training is its role in increasing bone density. Bone mass or bone density continues to increase as a child grows and develops. A peak bone mass is reached at a young adult age. This is called the Peak Bone Mineral Density (PBMD). The process of aging causes bone loss. Someone who attains a higher PBMD may delay the age at which bone loss starts occurring.
Menopausal women suffer increased levels of bone loss. This could also lead to osteoporosis which causes the bones to become porous and brittle. A lot of older men and women suffer from falls that result in hip and thigh fractures. This dramatically reduces their quality of life as a lot of them find it very difficult to recover from this.