The myth that kids will stop growing if they lift weights at a younger age is not supported by any scientific evidence or research. According to Chris Wolf, DO, sports medicine and regenerative orthopedic specialist at the Bluetail Medical Group, weightlifting in kids under 18 is safe when properly applied. Properly designed and supervised resistance training programs have numerous benefits for kids which includes: decreasing fracture risk and rates of sports-related injury, increasing bone strength index and growing self esteem in fitness.
It’s best to wait until the age of 7 or 8 to begin strength training, start with bodyweight exercises, and only add weight once you've developed a proper technique. Physical fitness guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in November 2018 recommends that children between the ages of 6 and 17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per day, along with three muscle strengthening sessions per week. Dr. Daniel G. Drury, a health sciences professor at Gettysburg College, says 'physiologically, your muscles don’t know the difference between resistance provided by strength training or the resistance provided by vigorous work or play.’
If you’re young and interested in fitness, it’s important to take it slow and build up gradually. Start with lighter weights and higher repetitions, focusing on the execution of the movement rather than on the number on the dumbbell. Make sure you're supervised by a certified personal trainer or educator who has training in how to design a weightlifting program for kids. If you’re a parent, and your child is interested in lifting weights, let them, as long as they have expert supervision.
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