When you think of CrossFit, the image of muscular men and women pushing tires may come to mind, but would you put your kids through the same strength and conditioning program? Is CrossFit safe for kids? Below, orthopedist Laurel Blakemore, MD, discusses the health benefits and the dangers associated with CrossFit.
Benefits of CrossFit
Like any exercise, CrossFit has many benefits for kids. These include:
- Teaching children healthy habits early in life
- Kids may think it’s fun
- Kids are working out on Saturday mornings, instead of watching cartoons
- Some families do CrossFit together
So, CrossFit can help kids develop a good base for an active and healthy future. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends getting 45 to 60 minutes of activity on as many days as possible and CrossFit could be a great way to accomplish this.
Risks of CrossFit
However, CrossFit also comes with several risk factors, including:
- Kids shouldn’t overspecialize in one area; doing a variety of activities is healthy
- Any program done in excess can be dangerous
- Severe exertion could lead to rhabdomyolysis, which is the breakdown of muscle fibers released into the bloodstream and could cause kidney damage
If your kids do end up doing CrossFit, they should focus on fitness and not pushing their bodies to the limits. They should also be trained on the equipment and supervised at all times.