Dispelling the Myths of Kids/Youths Fitness

“Lifting weights will stunt kids growth”

The health and fitness industry is full of half-truths and myths that seem to stick around, regardless of what the science and the experts say.

One question that never seems to disappear no matter what the experts say is the question “does lifting weights stunt growth?”

While this concern about stunted growth seems legitimate, the good news is, your child’s growth will not be affected by lifting weights.

What does the science say?

The myth that kids will stop growing if they lift weights too young is not supported by any scientific evidence or research.

What is supported by scientific evidence and research is that properly designed and supervised resistance training programs have a number of positive benefits for kids, including:

  • Increased strength and bone strength index (BSI)
  • Decreasing fracture risk and rates of sports-related injury
  • Growing self-esteem, confidence and an interest in fitness.

Your growth plates are the cartilaginous areas of growing tissue at the ends of long bones (like the thigh bone, for example). These plates turn into hardened bone when young people reach physical maturity but are softer during development and are therefore more susceptible to damage. 

But just because the growth plates are susceptible to damage doesn’t mean you should avoid lifting weights. Medical professionals clarify this by stating that lifting weights and strength training in kids under 18 is safe when properly applied and the correct approach is taken.

What to do if your child is interested in going to the gym? 

If your child is interested in the gym and strength training then GREAT, encourage them and back them all the way. Do you remember the first time you stepped into a gym? It might have been pretty daunting, so if your child feels confident enough then let them go for it. But always make sure to seek qualified professional advice. A professional is going to set a solid foundation for your child and make sure they are no.1 having fun, and no.2 that they are safe. 

The steps a professional will follow will be:

  1. Taking it slow- Rome wasn’t built in a day. 
  2. Age is just a number- A plan will be put in place based on your child and a full individual approach will be taken. 
  3. Start with the basics- Everyone starts somewhere. 
  4. Provide supervision- Always keeping an eye on technique and safety. 

I hope this blog post helps clear some of the confusion around this myth and hopefully you have found it interesting. I will be dispelling more myths very soon so please keep a look out for those again. As always if you have any questions id be more than happy to help. Feel free to contact me at shane@activate.ie or else pop us a message on Facebook or Instagram. 

Thanks, Shane ☺ 

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