Is Weightlifting Safe For Your Kids?

Is Weightlifting Safe For Your Kids?

Immediately, you’re probably thinking, wait what? My child doesn’t want to lift weights, but you’d be surprised. Boys, in particular, tend to start talking about weightlifting around the age of puberty. They want to be strong, fit and athletic. Weightlifting may even be encouraged in older teenagers who are on sports teams. But should you let your child weight lift or engage in this type of strenuous exercise? And if so, at what age can your child safely start weightlifting? You might have seen the little weights for tots, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

 

When Can Kids Start Weightlifting?

First, let’s start with a positive. Weightlifting is a great way to stay in shape. You can burn calories strengthen muscles and in general achieve a better level of physical fitness. However, you should be aware than in young teens and children weightlifting may stunt growth. Essentially, research has shown that it damages growth plates. However, if you research online, you’ll find that weightlifting can start as early as eight years old.

That’s remarkably early, and obviously, we’re not talking about heavy weights here. However, the aim of weightlifting is to lift more as you progress. The chance of damaging growth plates has led some people to suggest that kids shouldn’t start weightlifting until after puberty. However, that won’t stop kids in their early teens giving it a go.

You also have to make sure that a child can weight lift properly. They have to be lifting the weights in the right way and maintaining their balance. Some weightlifting can be accomplished by lifting with your back, and if you do this, you could very easily cause permanent damage.

Are There Alternatives?

 

Rather than letting your child or teenager weight lift, if they want to put on muscle or tone their body, you might want to try encouraging them to eat well or even add health supplements to their diet like beta alanine. This has been positively linked with muscle growth, toning and essentially an athletic physique. Always discuss these possibilities with your child’s physician before giving them to your child.

If your child is interested in weightlifting, you will typically find that they are doing it to fit in at school or make sure that they aren’t the one that looks gangly in the gym showers. You’d be amazed at how early this kind of body shaming starts in schools, and it’s something parents should watch out for. It’s okay to help kids get in shape if they want to but it has to be in a safe way. Changing the diet might be the best possibility.

Weightlifting can also lead to the risk of over exercise which could be very dangerous. It might lead to physical exhaustion dehydration and ultimately an accident while lifting heavy weights. An early episode of Full House touched on this danger back in the 80’s, and it hasn’t disappeared with time.

The pressure on young teenagers to be fit and stay in shape is just as prevalent today. Early teens may be an acceptable starting point for kids to weight lift, but you need to make sure that they are doing so safely.

 

Comments

  1. These are great weightlifting tips.

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