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Weight Training for Kids

Photo by Flickr user eyeliam , CC Licensed

Ever heard that lifting weights is harmful to children? Researchers are now reporting that weight training can actually be highly beneficial for a child’s development.  

After reviewing decades worth of studies on children and weightlifting, German researchers have concluded that, contrary to popular belief, children can increase muscular strength by lifting weights. Other benefits: weight training can help reduce their risk of injury and improve brain-muscle interaction.

Still not convinced? Lyle Micheli, M.D., the director of sports medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston and professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard University, makes an interesting point:

“There was a time when children ‘weight trained’ by carrying milk pails and helping around the farm. Now few children, even young athletes, get sufficient activity” to fully strengthen their muscles, tendons and other tissues, he told “If a kid sits in class or in front of a screen for hours and then you throw them out onto the soccer field or basketball court, they don’t have the tissue strength to withstand the forces involved in their sports. That can contribute to injury.”

This doesn’t mean you should run out and buy your kiddo a set of heavy-duty dumbbells. In fact, your child can weight train without weights by doing simple strength-building exercises like lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups (think money bars!).

Plus: Check our Fit Generation page for healthy food recipes, active games, and more ideas on how to keep your family fit!