Exercise and youth

Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 09:40 am
So, the other day my 7 year old son did something stupid and as punishment, I told him to "drop and give me 20!" (I was kidding of course), well, he dropped, but couldn't even give me one. I stood there for a second, got down on the floor to show him how to properly do a push up. That didn't help much.

Well, I thought that needs to be fixed and asked him to try doing situps. I was aghast. The boy could barely do one sit-up!

Now, we are exercising together. 5 pushups with my help and 5 sit ups with his feet hooked under the couch for now. I hope that he will soon get the form down and we can increase his repetitions.

Has this happened to anyone else? I was quite surprised as he is n't fat and stays active climbing around, riding his bike and things like that. Anyone else have any ideas?
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 09:52 am
I'm not sure at what age a child can do certain types of exercise, but maybe it is more the coordination rather than his lack of exercise or physical strength. For example, my 6 year old just started to learn to jump rope. The first couple of days she could do only about one or two. Now a couple of weeks later she does several and backwards and twisting the rope. I think he probably just needs practice on the specific type of exercise as he seems active and in shape.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 09:55 am
Uh huh. If he's that active, he has probably just not trained his muscles to those particular exercises.

I speculate that an active life style, filled with interesting and fun physical activity is better than sitting around doing push ups all day. Just speculating.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 10:02 am
I wouldn't worry about it at his age, especially since you describe him as
an active kid and not fat.

At about that age, my younger son started karate and got into a more
regimented kind of exercise. Before that I have no idea how well he
would have done with push-ups or sit-ups. To this day (he's 16) he has
never really been interested in strength exercises, but has remained lean
due to a lot of "running around" kinds of sports.

When he started high school, he joined the fencing team. His coach is a
real conditioning nut, so no problem these days.

The good thing about the kind of execise your lad has been doing on his
own is that he doesn't do it for exercise, but for fun. That's the kind of
stuff he'll keep doing.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 10:07 am

Was just an article in NYT mag about how kids are getting more and more specialized at early ages, so you have a really good baseball player who is completely at a loss in any other sport. Early specialization leads to a lot more injuries, too, as specific muscles are over-used (at the expense of others.)

Just going out and doing a variety of activities, especially, as George says, just 'cause they're fun, seems best overall.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 10:26 am
By the way, push-ups and sit-ups can be fun
if they are something you do with your Dad.
(Unless Dad gets all D.I. on you, which I'm sure
wouldn't happen in this case.)
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 10:31 am
I think this is about the age when kids start to learn specific exercises. Do they still have the presidential physical fitness program in elementary? I think you have to do a certain number of sit ups in a minute to get that -- based on age of course.

Maybe you're prepping him just in time, McG.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 10:36 am
I think so. I had a tough time as a kid because I was fat. I'll not let my son go through the same pain.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 10:51 am
I too think that with little kids that excercise is more of a lifestyle than it is excercise. Just like reading, once it becomes regimented and required it isn't half as much fun.

"Free running" is turning into a very popular sport among adults now. It is simply running around like a kid- jumping over fences, bouncing off of walls, hurdling garbage cans -- instead of running or jogging on a path.

Mo and I swim a lot. Not only is it great fun, it works all the muscles and is great for coordination. (Of course, being safe in the water is important, especially here in the waterworld of the Pacific northwest.)
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 11:25 am
My daughter is on a competitive U13 soccer team. One of the things the trainer does is have the girls who fail at things do pushups. You'd be surprised how bad they are at it seeing as what great shape they are in. Mine does OK, fortunately.

Upper body strength takes time to develop, and different kids develop at different times.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 01:58 pm
McGentrix wrote:
... I had a tough time as a kid because I was fat. I'll not let my son go through the same pain.

From about age ten to about age fifteen I was the same way. In eighth
grade I stood 5'7" and weighed 195 pounds. That's three inches shorter
and twenty-five pounds heavier than I am now. It wasn't fun. Even now,
I tend to think of myself as the fat kid.

I think age 9 or 10 is when a lot of kids tend to gravitate toward sofa-
spud games. If you can get them involved in some physical activity
earlier and keep them with it, they'll have something to balance that and
they'll be OK.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 03:52 pm
By and large, kids today get remarkably little exercise. School gym classes have been cut. A lot of neighborhoods aren't safe for unsupervised children. Kids can't walk to school--no sidewalks.

My memory may be faulty, but either DDE or JFK, appalled at the poor condition of recruits for the armed services instituted the Presidential Fitness Programs--which are still on paper, someplace.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 04:09 pm
That was the point I was going to make, Noddy. Kids just don't get the same amount of exercise that we used to with gym classes cut, recess periods cut, no running around in the playground all afternoon anymore. I remember in grade school, maybe seven or eight years old, having to do a particular number of situps and jumping jacks and skipping rope for grades. Perhaps it was the Presidential Fitness Program? Every year, all the way through high school, it was mandatory that you were able to do this number of situps and that number of pushups.

Those days are over.
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 04:09 pm
Wow. My last post was number 3333. Should I play it as a Pick 4?
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 05:25 pm
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Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 05:38 pm
My oldest boy got a black belt at 8, youngest ever in NC. He loves sports.

My youngest boy could care less about sports (except skateboarding) but likes to walk and run with me and is starting to lift on his own because he wants to look good.

Two of my three duaghters were gymnasts and in very good shape. The third is not athletic and never had any interest in exercising period.

You never know, but most kids find a way to be fit.
Best thing we can do as parents is to make sure their diets are good and they rest adequately, and encourage them in anythin gphysical they do. IMO.
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