First of all, strength training has a positive effect on the fat mass of the child. A study in 1997 among children showed that weight training decreased the fat percentage (et al, 1997). During the study, 52 young people who did strength training and 39 young people who did not train were considered as controls. The drop in fat percentage was mainly due to strength training, as the only cardio the subjects did was in the form of a 5-minute warm-up and cool-down.
Lowering the number of fat cells at a younger age appears to be very important. At a later age, the number of fat cells is particularly difficult to reduce, only the volume can then be changed (2004). If a child is overweight at a young age, he or she will always remain sensitive to this later on.
The fact that strength training for children helps to reduce fat mass can have a positive effect on Dutch society. Figures from Statistics Netherlands in 2012 show that obesity is increasing in the Netherlands. In 2011, approximately 41% of adults were overweight and approximately 11% of children and young people were overweight.
Strength Training For ChildrenPhysical Development Through Fitness
Strength training also has a positive effect on a child’s physical development. For example, strength training has been found to help increase bone density (et al, 1996). This occurs through repeated increased stress on the skeleton. The advantage of this pressure load is the stimulation of good development and healthy growth in the skeleton. It appears that this development can be better realized at a younger age.
The increased bone density also has a positive effect on reducing the risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) and osteoarthritis (joint wear, 2004). If a child also gets enough calcium, this effect is positively increased. In addition to increasing bone density, strength training also strengthens the child’s ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Major Effects Of Strength Training
In addition to lowering the fat percentage and stimulating physical development, there are a number of positive effects of strength training. Children benefit from this, but these also apply to other age groups. Some of the effects of strength training are listed:
Increase muscle strength
Increase muscle mass
Improve (muscle) endurance
Faster recovery after a muscle injury
Prevention / reduction of back pain by strengthening the trunk
Possibility of sport specific strength training
Improvement of coordination between muscles and nervous system
Especially the prevention of back pain is very important at a young age. The sooner one starts with the prevention of back complaints, the smaller the chance that one will suffer from it later. It turns out that 60-90% of Dutch people ever experience (low) back pain (topfit physiotherapy, 2012). 75% of these people return to their GP with the same complaints. Improving the coordination between muscles and nervous system is also a positive effect that benefits a child for the rest of his life.
Strength Training Is Safe For Children
A number of conclusions can be drawn from the above article. Strength training has a positive effect on a child’s fat percentage. It lowers the fat percentage when it is too high and also ensures that the child does not build up too many fat cells. These are very difficult to reduce later on.
In addition, strength training increases the bone density of the child, which has a positive effect on lowering the risk of osteoporosis and joint wear. Finally, there are the positive effects of strength training such as increasing muscle strength, mass and endurance, prevention of back pain and the improvement of coordination between muscles and nervous system.
The argument that strength training limits growth by damaging the growth plates can be undermined since strength training is often not the cause of the damage. The damage during strength training is often caused by incorrectly performing exercises. Incorrect technique leads to injuries, regardless of whether you are a child or an adult athlete. The chance that the growth plates will be damaged in sports such as football and basketball is even greater.
The argument that strength training leads to general injuries and even a hernia is also debunked. Research has shown that fitness is one of the most popular sports with relatively the fewest injuries. Sports such as running , field football and tennis appear to be more prone to injury than strength sports. In this view, strength training for children and young people is safe and will not lead to injuries.
Choose The Right Guidance!
It is important at all times that the strength training that is done by children is under the correct supervision. This reduces the chance of (serious) injuries. Strength training for children therefore appears to be only healthy. There are mainly many positive effects to be seen on the physical realm.