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Why To Exercise Today: Weight Training Is Even Good For Kids

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Learn something every day. I really did think kids and dumbbells don't mix. But a "Well" column currently on nytimes.com debunks the popular myth that kids should not weight-train, citing medical experts and a recent review in the journal Pediatrics.

“We are urban dwellers stuck in hunter-gatherer bodies,” said Lyle Micheli, M.D., the director of sports medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston and professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard University, as well as a co-author, with Dr. [Avery] Faigenbaum, of the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s 2009 position paper about children and resistance training. “That’s true for children as well as adults. There was a time when children ‘weight trained’ by carrying milk pails and helping around the farm. Now few children, even young athletes, get sufficient activity” to fully strengthen their muscles, tendons and other tissues. “If a kid sits in class or in front of a screen for hours and then you throw them out onto the soccer field or basketball court, they don’t have the tissue strength to withstand the forces involved in their sports. That can contribute to injury.”

Note of caution: The experts warn that kids shouldn't just start using their parents' weights — injuries could result.

This program aired on November 24, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth blog.

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