What types of exercise are best for children? My son is ten. He is not overweight, but he is relatively inactive. My daughter is 8, a little overweight, and not particularly physically oriented. Is cardiovascular or calisthenics exercise the best thing for them right now?
Your children are at a very formative period in the human life cycle. Between the ages of 6 and 10, children develop 85% of the inter-muscular coordination that they will to have for the rest of their life.
Inter-muscular coordination, in laymen’s terms, is the ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to function optimally. Central nervous system health decides how strong an individual may become, because the CNS is the control center that tells the muscles how to contract — how often to contract, how fast to contract, & even how many (muscle fibers) to contract.
The more developed the CNS is, the better an athlete the child may become. Health of the central nervous system also pertains to general health. Even if your child has limited interest in athletics, the greater the level of CNS health that they develop, the better the relationship they may foster with their body later in life.
What all this means is that the age of your child is the major predictor of how much progress they can expect to make – physically – for the rest of their life. Ideally, age 6 to 10 is the golden period to develop healthy levels of physical ability. At the end of this very formative time, the opportunity to become a world-class athlete may have passed, but this does not mean that the child is going to be unhealthy, if they adopt a more active lifestyle.
On the next page, we’ll discuss the ideal exercise options for children.
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