Family Fitness Across the Generations (cont.)

To keep strength training with kids fun and safe, follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Have the child see a pediatrician before starting a strength-training program.
  • For maximum health benefits, make sure the child gets aerobic exercise as well.
  • All strength-training workouts should include both a warm-up and cool-down.
  • Children should start training with no weights. Once they learn the exercise, weight can be added a little at a time.
  • Before increasing weight or resistance, the child should be able to do 8-15 repetitions of the exercise with good form.
  • A good general strengthening program involves all major muscle groups and the complete range of motion.
  • If a child shows any sign of injury of illness from strength training, have him or her evaluated before continuing the exercise.

Get Checked, Then Have Fun

Before anyone takes up a new workout -- no matter what their age -- it's a good idea to talk with a doctor first. That's especially true if they haven't been active for awhile.

After that, involving loved ones in your fitness plans not only leads to a fitter family, it also lets you demonstrate your commitment to good health. And that's strong medicine!

Published April 15, 2005.

SOURCES: Julie See, president, Aquatic Exercise Association. Mark Grevelding, continuing education provider, Aquatic Exercise Association. Brigitte Mesa, New Jersey. WebMD Feature: "Strength Training Safe and Effective for Kids," by Jeanie Lerche Davis, published June 5, 2001. American Fitness Professionals and Associates. CDC.

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Last Editorial Review: 4/13/2005 9:07:53 PM