Children and fitness

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My son is 9 years old and has so much energy. Just recently my husband did a 5k Park Run and took my son, who begged to go and was he apparently really good, he ran pretty much all of it, did it in 30 minutes and was encouraging everyone else, running with them, telling "Come on, don't stop you can do it, carry on" He has also started doing athletics 1 day a week. He keeps asking to go to circuit training with me, I know he isn't allowed to do weights, but wondered if he would still be okay to do bodyweight and cardio stuff./

If he sees my husband and I exercise, he always tries to join in with sit ups, push cups etc, and again, he is really good! I want to encourage this, but obviously not too much... any advice?
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  • AllanMisner
    AllanMisner Posts: 4,140 Member
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    Yes, please encourage him to continue to explore fitness and health and find his passions there!
  • EmmaReed84
    EmmaReed84 Posts: 263 Member
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    Thank you, I just don't want to damage him, he is still so young and growing. He loves fitness, he is a super healthy eater, loves fruit and veg and always goes on about 'getting enough protein' lol, it's rather sweet and funny at times! I just want to be careful not to give him a complex about his body.
  • khloesdad0124
    khloesdad0124 Posts: 62 Member
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    My daughter does all the free weight work outs with me...planking, push ups etc....
  • giantrobot_powerlifting
    giantrobot_powerlifting Posts: 2,598 Member
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    I've had my 4.5 year old daughter in tumbling. She loves it.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,719 Member
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    Could he join some sports teams or athletics club?
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    My family do this as part of our wake up routine - 7 yr son, 5 yr daughter, 1 yr son - all do circuit calisthenics (pushups, situps, planks, jumping jacks) each morning and motivate each other to see if we can top yesterday's count.

    What you are doing is imprinting essential habits onto your kids. Never too early to begin this. Everything in moderation.
  • SemperAnticus1643
    SemperAnticus1643 Posts: 703 Member
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    I have two daughters ages 9 and 12 and they workout with me often. The 9 year old stretches with me when I get home from the gym and uses bands on occasion. My 12 year old does lift weights with me but on a very low scale. Please continue to encourage the health and fitness aspect of life. Obesity is a very real thing in kids these days and in adults, in general. My oldest will be running cross country next spring which I am looking forward to since I am not a runner by any means.
  • hanksmom79
    hanksmom79 Posts: 85 Member
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    I think it's wonderful that your son is showing such an interest in fitness & like the previous posters, I would encourage you to nurture and foster this interest. To answer your specific question, there is no harm whatsoever in your son participating in the cardio and bodyweight portions of your circuit training. As long as he is not lifting heavy weights (too much weight and improper form can pose risk to growing children's growth plates) & is still enjoying himself, I say go for it!!
  • EmmaReed84
    EmmaReed84 Posts: 263 Member
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    Could he join some sports teams or athletics club?

    He is in an athletics clubs after school one day a week (Tues) does and acting class (Tue Eve) and Street Dance (Sun) will be doing 5k Park Runs with me (Sat). I think he is also going to be doing the school's cross country competition. (He comes first in all the races)

    I am not really sure what they have here (I am in the UK)
  • brendak76
    brendak76 Posts: 241 Member
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    YES ke
  • brendak76
    brendak76 Posts: 241 Member
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    Keep him active. My (diabetic) son started running 1/2 marathons at age 12 and he's developed a love for running he didn't know he had.
  • EmmaReed84
    EmmaReed84 Posts: 263 Member
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    Thank you all so much for the comments. Both my husband and I work out and try to eat healthy (although we are naughty at times) we definitely want to ensure our children enjoy a healthy lifestyle. We have even been talking about doing the Park Run as a whole family thing! A family what WORKOUTS together, stays together lol!!!
  • Charliegottheruns
    Charliegottheruns Posts: 287 Member
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    Children can absolutely lift weights. Current recommendations (NASPE) for children 5-12 are 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. they should engage in aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone strengthening activities.
    For resistance training a good guideline would be;
    1-2 sets per exercise,
    8-12 reps, per set,
    2-3 days per week, with the increase in overload occurring through an increase in reps then resistance.
    Make it " FUN "
  • kjablinskey
    kjablinskey Posts: 47 Member
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    I've had my nine year old daughter do the same thing with me. Always wants to join in with me, I understand your concern about body image issues. I worry about that too, maybe more so with a girl.

    I think as long as you guys are open with him and emphasize the health aspects of it and kind of glaze over the way it makes your body look better, you're on the right track. Also use it as an opportunity to teach him, and yourselves, about the nutrition aspects.

    You said he comments on making sure he gets enough protein, which is good because he's not thinking about limiting his eating, but the protein requirements aren't all that high, even for a growing boy or someone trying to gain weight. Carbs and fats are given too much of a back seat, in my opinion, by a lot of people. They're key for energy, mood regulation, and growth.

    I just recently cut the butter out of my morning oatmeal for a week because my fat macro was a tad high. I felt drained and sluggish and generally crappy all week. Decided to put it back and boom, overnight my energy level felt back to normal. It was one teaspoon of butter a day, but what a difference!
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,752 Member
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    Kid can do resistance training. Think about it, they climb which puts resistance on their legs and arms. They jump, they run, they swing on monkey bars.
    Body weight training can be encouraged if they want to do it. But just PLAYING like a kid should be plenty of exercise for them.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • ChrisLindsay9
    ChrisLindsay9 Posts: 837 Member
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    I helped a co-worker come up with a simple strength-building workout plan for his 10 year old son. It's a 2x week program. It alternates between bodyweight and very light dumbbell exercises.

    Day 1 (bodyweight): Walking Lunges, Push-Ups (beginners can start on their knees), Pull-Ups (beginners might need someone to help give them a bit of a boost by holding their legs), Sit-Ups (beginners can just do partial reps, focus on keeping lower back straight, hands on chest), Planks/Side Bridges
    Day 2 (light dumbbells): DB Step Ups, Bench Press w/ DBs, DB OHP Standing Press, Partial Sit-Ups, Planks/Side Bridges .. evaluate form/technique.

    Aside from them getting good warmup first, jogging in place, jumping jacks, stomach vacuums, etc., and making sure their form is decent, you'll want to monitor their attention spans. If they seem distracted or whatever, then terminate the workout. If kids' focus isn't on the lifting, they could end up with an injury.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,809 Member
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    Great to hear about such an active child not sitting with his face stuck in front of a screen!

    Have you thought about rugby? My son started at five and the game is taught very progressively through the age groups.

    Bodyweight exercise is great for children as it's self regulating really. But to me the most important thing is for him to try everything and enjoy it.
  • AllanMisner
    AllanMisner Posts: 4,140 Member
    edited April 2015
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    EmmaReed84 wrote: »
    Thank you, I just don't want to damage him, he is still so young and growing. He loves fitness, he is a super healthy eater, loves fruit and veg and always goes on about 'getting enough protein' lol, it's rather sweet and funny at times! I just want to be careful not to give him a complex about his body.

    If he’s fully healthy, then there is little risk. On the runs, realize that kids don’t have a mental gearbox like we do. He will push harder than he should at times, but will bonk out before he does too much damage. If you’re concerned, buy a heart rate monitor with bluetooth and track his heart rate on your phone. He should spend most of his time below 190 and not go much above 200 without slowing down. But running with you all, he’ll be ok.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    One key point is the strength to weight ratio on kids, enabling them to do amazing things physically. This can be tremendously motivating and empowering. I have all my kids involved in climbing and they get a huge ego boost out of the fact they can outclimb many adults. As with most things the key point is exposing children to new experiences in a protected environment.

    We do plenty of bad habits as well such as all digging in on whatever ice cream has the highest fat content, but refer to it as "runnin' fuel".
  • Sam_I_Am77
    Sam_I_Am77 Posts: 2,093 Member
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    EmmaReed84 wrote: »
    My son is 9 years old and has so much energy. Just recently my husband did a 5k Park Run and took my son, who begged to go and was he apparently really good, he ran pretty much all of it, did it in 30 minutes and was encouraging everyone else, running with them, telling "Come on, don't stop you can do it, carry on" He has also started doing athletics 1 day a week. He keeps asking to go to circuit training with me, I know he isn't allowed to do weights, but wondered if he would still be okay to do bodyweight and cardio stuff./

    If he sees my husband and I exercise, he always tries to join in with sit ups, push cups etc, and again, he is really good! I want to encourage this, but obviously not too much... any advice?

    Kids should do some basic strength training especially if they're going to participate in sports. Hopefully you can find this online but here's a good peer-reviewed document related to resistance-training in children.

    Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology position
    paper: resistance training in children and
    adolescents

    David G. Behm, Avery D. Faigenbaum, Baraket Falk, and Panagiota Klentrou

    If not, here's the abstract but I recommend you read the full article if you can. I can't share it unfortunately unless you want me to email it to you.

    Abstract: Many position stands and review papers have refuted the myths associated with resistance training (RT) in children
    and adolescents. With proper training methods, RT for children and adolescents can be relatively safe and improve
    overall health. The objective of this position paper and review is to highlight research and provide recommendations in aspects
    of RT that have not been extensively reported in the pediatric literature. In addition to the well-documented increases
    in muscular strength and endurance, RT has been used to improve function in pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis and
    cerebral palsy, as well as pediatric burn victims. Increases in children’s muscular strength have been attributed primarily
    to neurological adaptations due to the disproportionately higher increase in muscle strength than in muscle size. Although
    most studies using anthropometric measures have not shown significant muscle hypertrophy in children, more sensitive
    measures such as magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound have suggested hypertrophy may occur. There is no minimum
    age for RT for children. However, the training and instruction must be appropriate for children and adolescents, involving
    a proper warm-up, cool-down, and appropriate choice of exercises. It is recommended that low- to moderateintensity
    resistance exercise should be done 2–3 times/week on non-consecutive days, with 1–2 sets initially, progressing
    to 4 sets of 8–15 repetitions for 8–12 exercises. These exercises can include more advanced movements such as Olympicstyle
    lifting, plyometrics, and balance training, which can enhance strength, power, co-ordination, and balance. However,
    specific guidelines for these more advanced techniques need to be established for youth. In conclusion, an RT program
    that is within a child’s or adolescent’s capacity and involves gradual progression under qualified instruction and supervision
    with appropriately sized equipment can involve more advanced or intense RT exercises, w