Thursday, September 13, 2007

Let's Go Climb a Tree

A friend asked me the other day, "Is it too early to train my 5-year-old son?"

This is a very good question. As good parents, we don't want our own children to be in the top percentile for obesity.

However, we have heard of the damage that can occur to growth plates when lifting heavy weights at a young age. We do not want to do anything that will harm our children.

There are many ways to start training our children at a young age without the added dangers of extreme weightlifting, including cardiovascular exercises and strength training.

For cardiovascular exercise, anything will do: soccer, hiking, biking, running (Chris didn't make me include that!) and basketball are just a few choices. (Basketball has the added benefit of helping develop hand-eye coordination.)

For strength training — and mothers, don't be upset with this! — tree climbing is a great activity.

Parents who are less adventurous can choose weight-bearing exercises, such as push-ups and pull-ups. There are many different kinds of push-ups: between two chairs, with arms at a wider angle, with feet on a chair so you are in a declined position. These slight variances help develop muscular strength and endurance and good core stabilization.

Earlier, I mentioned tree climbing. The reason for this is that pull-ups are great for strengthening back muscles.

Final tip: remember to be active every day with your children so they develop good, healthy fitness habits.

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