Childhood obesity and strength training are two newsworthy items. They are both increasing in popularity and they both have an impact on health.
However childhood obesity and weight training could not be further apart in terms of benefit. This page focuses directly on strength training and childhood obesity. How can these two very different things impact one another?
Childhood obesity is reaching an all-time high. More and more children are becoming less active and less healthy. Diabetes is on the rise and children are becoming sicker. Schools are cutting out Gym Class and Health Class is a joke. Where are children supposed to learn good, healthy habits from?
Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic because no one is taking control. Everyone is passing the buck. I’m not. I think this is a serious issue that deserves real, serious, straight forward answers. I believe a combination of strength training, cardio and healthy eating is the beginning of a new life for many over weight children.
But before you go running off and put your child on a strength training routine, you should know a few basic things. You should know some general guidelines for children’s fitness routines AND more specifically childhood obesity and strength training.
Childhood obesity and strength training Guideline #1- All children should work on form. They should NOT focus on gaining muscle mass or strength.
Childhood obesity and strength training Guideline #2- All children should work with 1-3 sets per exercise. They should not try to work on more than 3 sets.
Childhood obesity and strength training Guideline #3- All children should work with 12-15 reps per set. Working at lower rep ranges and a higher weight is not advisable for youth.
Childhood obesity and strength training Guideline #4- All children should be supervised while working out. An adult should always be present while a child is strength training.
Childhood obesity and strength training Guideline #5- All fitness programs should be fun and focus on health and not physique, strength or competition. Keep things interesting and do not make it into a competition. Most obese children have issues with team sports because they feel inadequate.
Childhood obesity and strength training Guideline #6- Each exercise should be tailored to the child’s capabilities. If your child cannot stand up without guidance or a support, then having him/her do one-legged squats is not recommended. They are not at that level yet. Try Assisted Squats or even just practice getting in and out of a chair.
Childhood obesity and strength training Guideline #7- Work on functional exercises. Focus on doing exercises such as the Assisted Squat, walking, going up and down steps, or bicep curls. These exercises help to increase ROM (range of motion) and strength along the ROM track for daily activities.
Childhood obesity and strength training Guideline #8- Cardio and proper eating are absolutely essential to a well-rounded workout routine. Speak directly with your child’s doctor before beginning any new program.
The end result of childhood obesity and strength training is simple- fat loss. The child will feel better. They will look better. They will have more self-esteem. Obesity is a serious problem that many adults face as well.
Exercises and dietary guidelines are not much different between obese and healthy adults, but obese children (and children in general) must NOT follow an adult fitness program.
It will be too much for their body to handle and the risk of injury is too high. Just remember to keep things fun and interesting. Your child will benefit from strength training, cardio and healthy eating.
One last piece of advice- children learn best by example. So be a great example and workout with your child. Show them that you are committed to their health as well! You influence them more than you know.