What Are The Implications Of Strength Training In Children?

Strength Training In ChildrenHave you ever heard anyone say, “don’t let children do any strength training because it will stunt their growth!” The latest research has shown that strength training can actually be very beneficial for children both physically and mentally. Not only is it beneficial but there has been no documented evidence that any child has injured themselves when performing strength training exercises. Whereas if you have a look at the emergency room on a Saturday afternoon it’s full of children who have hurt themselves playing sport. So when should they start?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends strength training for children as young as six years old. In general, if a child is old enough to participate in organised sports, he or she is ready for a strength training program.

Research has shown strength training helps children maintain a healthy body weight, benefits skeletal and joint development as well as improves sports performance. ACSM reported that strength training programs can prevent as many as 50 percent of all preadolescent sports injuries.

Among the general developmental benefits of strength training is its ability to increase bone mineral density, thereby decreasing the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. In fact strength training is most beneficial for young women before the age of 16 and young men before the age of 18. Evidently, the benefits acquired are long term.

In addition to decreasing the risk of osteoporosis, strength training:

– strengthens ligaments and tendons

– readies soft tissues to produce the forces associated with play, making them more pliable and resistant to external forces

– improves motor fitness skills, such as jumping and sprinting, which are often required in sports performance.

Most importantly because strength training is structured similar to play (i.e., periods of high-energy activity alternated with longer periods of rest), it can be fun for children.

As with any physical activity, certain precautions should be taken for the participant’s safety. Adult strength training guidelines and programs should not be applied to children. For example children should never perform a maximal weight lift or ballistic movements (i.e power lifting exercises).

So there you have it, young children can be involved in strength training programs. However certain precautions must be taken, for example they must do it under qualified supervision by a person trainer or gym instructor. The program will start off with body weighted exercises and progress to weighted exercises such as using dumbbells. It is important to start training at an early age as this will improve body mineral density for later in life. Overall strength training helps children maintain a healthy body weight, benefits skeletal and joint development as well as improves sports performance.



Diet and Exercise Impact on Chronic Disease

The leading killers in Westernized countries are chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. There is a strong correlation between a poor diet, physical inactivity and an increase risk in chronic diseases.

Chronic diseases have an immense burden to society by increasing medical costs and human suffering. There has been overwhelming evidence from a variety of sources which links most chronic diseases seen in the world today to physical inactivity and inappropriate diet consumption. In fact recent data estimates that physical inactivity and poor diet caused 400,000 deaths in the year 2000. At the moment this ranks second, however soon inactivity and diet will soon rank as the leading cause of death in the United States.

These health problems have virtually been non existent in underdeveloped countries, but as they develop more like westernized cultures chronic diseases have increased. People changing their diets and becoming more sedentary is on the rise.

For years diet has been known to play a key role as a risk factor in chronic diseases. Foods high in fat and energy-dense with a substantial content of animal foods have replaced diets which were typically largely plant-based. Diets are a major preventative; however it is just one risk factor. Physical inactivity is another major risk factor which is an important determinant of health. Recent studies have emphasized the importance of regular physical activity in decreasing the risk of chronic disease which needs to include both aerobic and resistance training.

The evidence suggests that an adoption of an ongoing healthy lifestyle is more effective in preventing chronic diseases than quick fix ‘weight-loss’ diets. The scientific evidence supporting the value of daily exercise and a diet focusing on the consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for the prevention and treatment of the major diseases seen in industrialized countries today is overwhelming.



Lazy Sunday @ Werribee Mansion & Open Range Zoo

Happy Sunday, hope you enjoyed a nice little sleep in this morning. but now that the sun is up and your wide awake, what to do? How about spending the afternoon exploring a mansion and having an African safari?

About 30 minutes from Melbourne the Werribee Park mansion has is pretty good day out. you can wander around the 10 hectares of parks and gardens as well as exploring the 130 year old mansion. You can even pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a feed in peaceful surrounds amoungst the gardens.

Then after you are done you can head just a little around the corner to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. Set on 225 hectares the African themed zoo brings you up close to some of Africa’s amazing wildlife. From lions, hippos, giraffes and zebra’s to those curious little meerkats it has the best of African wildlife for you to enjoy.

So pack your lunch and head down to Werribee for your lazy Sunday

View image at original source: http://bit.ly/dDYhBm



Physical Activity and Bone Health

bone healthWeight-bearing physical activity has beneficial effects on bone health across the age spectrum. Physical activities that generate relatively high-intensity loading forces, such as plyometrics, gymnastics, and high intensity training, enhance bone mineral accrual in children and adolescents. To assess the effects of physical activity on bone mass in humans the BMD (bone mineral density) is measured which is the amount of mineral measured per unit are or volume of bone tissue. Physical activity plays an important role in maximizing bone mass during childhood and the early adult years maintaining bone mass through the 5th decade, attenuating bone loss with aging, and reducing falls and fractures in the elderly.

Physical activity plays a very important role in maximizing bone mass in children and adolescents. There is some evidence that exercise induced gains in bone mass in children are maintained into adulthood so the peak bone mass developed during this time is essential in decreasing the risk of osteoporosis in further years to come. Therefore physical activity habits during childhood may have long-lasting benefits on bone health. Observations conclude that bone mass is higher in children who are physically active than in those who are less active. Furthermore bone mass is higher in children who participate in activities that generate high impact forces, for example gymnastics, than those who engage in activities that are lower impact forces (e.g. walking) or non weight bearing (e.g. swimming).

During adulthood, the primary goal of physical activity should be to maintain bone mass. Peak bone mass is thought to be attainted by the end of the 3rd decade, therefore the early adult years may be the final opportunity for its increase. At this stage it is unclear whether adults can increase bone mineral density through exercise training. When increases have been reported, it has been in response to relatively high intensity weight-bearing endurance or resistance exercise.

After the age of 40, bone mass decreases by about 0.5% per year or more, regardless of sex or ethnicity. In middle-aged and older adults benefits of exercise may be reflected by a reduction in the rate of bone loss, rather than an increase in bone mass. The rate of loss varies by skeletal region and is likely influenced by such factors as genetics, nutrition, hormonal status, and habitual physical activity, making it difficult to determine the extent to which the decline in bone mass is an inevitable consequence of the ageing process. A variety of types of exercise can be effective in preserving bone mass of older women as well as men.

In conclusion maintaining a vigorous level of physical activity across the life span is an essential component for achieving and maintaining optimal bone health. Physical activity habits during childhood may have long-lasting benefits on bone health. It is important to keep active because there profound effects of immobilisation and bed rest on bone loss, so even the frailest elderly should remain as physically active as their health permits to preserve skeletal integrity.



Improve your performance

Interval training is used widely by many athletes these days because it is so effective. Gone are the days where all your training involves going for long, low intensity runs or walks. In order to improve your performance you need to add some intensity. However it is quite difficult to maintain a high intensity effort for a long period of time. That’s where interval training comes in handy; it involves bursts of high intensity work alternated with periods of rest or low activity. In order to get the proper effects of interval training you need to make sure the brief bouts of exercise are at near-maximum exertion. Doing this for half an hour will give you a great work out, in fact research shows interval training performed for only 20 minutes is more effective at improving performance (and loosing weight) than going for a 60 minute walk. Because of the “less time factor involved” you will find time to exercise. You’ll fell better about yourself and set a great example for your family and friends.

It adds variety to your exercise routine. When you include interval techniques it makes it feel like more of a challenge. During the quick bursts try to go further than your previous quick burst – it keeps it interesting. Try these workouts to add some variety to your training.
Interval Variation I: Standard
3 – 5 minutes warm-up (light ride, low intensity, gradually increasing at the end of the warm up period)
1 minute moderate or high intensity followed by 1 minute low intensity (repeat 6-8 times)
3 – 5 minutes cool down (light ride, low intensity, gradually decreasing by the end of the cool down period)
Interval Variation II: Pyramid
3 – 5 minutes warm-up
30 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
90 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
30 seconds high intensity
3 – 5 minutes cool-down



Ten Tips when looking for a personal trainer.

Tips on finding a professional personal trainer

1.) Registration with the peak body.  In Australia that’s Fitness Australia – Fitness Australia is the peak registration body for personal trainers throughout Australia. Trainers need to fulfill ongoing requirements to maintain their registration.  Make sure your trainer is up to date!

2.) Experience – I wouldn’t trust my car to an apprentice Mechanic for a full engine rebuild.  A minor service… Maybe. Make sure if you have specialist needs you seek a specialist trainer.

3.) Personality – Do you click with this person? You will need to as you will probably be spending a fair bit of time with them. You also need to know what you don’t want as well.  Like a trainer pictured in this photo…

4.) Qualifications – As with No. 2 if you have specialist needs ensure your trainer has the quals to match that. If you are only after some basics then you probably won’t need to be quite as picky. For me, my body is my number one asset so I’m not taking it to any old butcher!

5.) Connivence – Are you someone who finds appointments hard to keep? Look for a trainer who fits your schedule perfectly or your appointments will become another inconvenience as opposed to them fulfilling your need of a structured routine.

6.) Can they deliver – This may seem a little shallow but shouldn’t you have a trainer that looks the goods? After all if they cannot practice what they preach what good are they to you? Your trainer doesn’t need to be the reincarnation Arnold in Conan the Barbarian but the should exhibit some of the qualities you are looking to improve in yourself.

Have you heard the saying never trust a skinny chef? Well, the same kinda goes in this industry I believe. Never trust an over weight trainer!

7.) All the gear and no idea – Don’t let a trainer with all of the latest bells and whistles fool you.  A lot of the time this could be considered compensating for something! This industry once again is one that can ofter be drawn into a fad.  The tried and tested traditional methods with the years behind them to back them up can be the most effective option the majority of the time. Don’t be fooled.

8.) Motivating? You want someone who is going to be able to push you. Can they inspire you to get out those last few reps?

9.) Respect – Will they respect you? Respect your goals what motivates you and and what you are wanting to achieve? Are they a legitimate operator in it for the long haul? Or someone in it for a quick buck? Are they well respected by their peers? Or a bit seedy and shady?

10.) Do they have the runs on the board? Looking for a trainer with results in the area you and wanting to improve is key. Look for testimonials from current or former customers. A trainer who has changed someones body or life would definitely be some people want to tell others about!