It all started with adults falling in love with the CrossFit craze, those high-intensity interval training workouts that perhaps filled your Facebook and Instagram feeds with photos and videos of your friends performing dead lifts or hanging upside-down in their “neighborhood box” – CrossFit speak for their local gyms – looking all fit and intimidating.
The popularity of the boot camp style exercise routines is hardly waning among adults, in fact, proponents of the practice are now taking their children to “CrossFit for Kids,” reports Business Insider.
More than miniature muscle building
The controversy surrounding the new exercise trend comes into play when folks envision a 5-year-old picking up a heavy weight and launching into a lunge routine. However, parents are being advised to check with their pediatricians before enrolling kids into any new exercise program, and to closely follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines that state that weightlifting can be a safe option for children older than 8, as long as common safety measures are practiced, because their muscles and bones are still growing.
On the whole, scary visions of bulking up a kid to the stature of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson seem to dissipate once a class is witnessed firsthand, and parents see the fun that many children experience therein.
CBS News reports the beneficial health results of stronger muscles in children, such as the possibility of decreased heart disease risk and a lesser chance of developing diabetes than their peers. Although a strength-based exercise routine can definitely assist in the obesity epidemic among children and help to reverse the trend toward inactivity that video games and too much “screen time” can bring, the classes aren’t all about getting skinny or pumping iron. They can additionally bring lower LDL and triglycerides levels, finds the study linked to by CBS.
The psychological pluses of exercise
Parents also report unexpected benefits of introducing their children to strength training well beyond the ability to gather that newfound strength to perform household chores better. They include things like standing up taller and feeling more confident, which comes as no surprise to experts who already know the advantages of exercise.
In her blog post regarding the psychological effects of fitness, psychologist Dr. Tali Shenfield writes, “It is well known that the best way to boost your mood is to get up and do some exercise. Just by going for a brisk walk, a person’s mood will improve. Not only does staying on an exercise program alleviate depression and anxiety, it also improves a person’s self-esteem and appearance.”
Indeed. No wonder those CrossFit Kid courses that certify adults to teach the classes are selling out like hotcakes around the world from Chicago to Dallas to the United Kingdom, even at $1,000 a pop – with a $250 deposit. Those of us adults who’ve already immensely enjoyed our own boot camp style classes and the way the strength training classes have toned our muscles and re-sculpted our bodies have gotten the opportunity to spy the future – and we want our kids to garner the same blessings.