4 Reasons to Enroll Your Kids in a Summer Strength Program
If you’re a parent, chances are you want your children to be happy AND healthy. Kids can get a ton of happiness from the social connections they make at school or while playing team sports. They can also get a lot of health benefits from those things as well. Playing in team sports prevents kids from developing type two diabetes, obesity and a whole host of other conditions which lead to more serious complications later in life like high blood pressure, heart attack and more recently, being more susceptible to the more serious effects from COVID-19.
So, is it better to let kids be kids during the summer or enroll them in a summer program?
We believe that your kids and teens should be enrolled in a summer program and here are 4 reasons why.
When you take breaks from a regular training program, the effects you can see can include:
Decreased aerobic capacity
Reduced muscle strength
Elevated blood sugar levels
The effects of these things can depend on a variety of factors including the age of the athlete, their fitness level and how long of a break they take, BUT there are studies that show that just two weeks away from a regular fitness routine can reduce cardiovascular endurance, lean muscle mass and insulin sensitivity.
Because we feel that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT reason for Teen athletes to continue training throughout the summer, we’re going to elaborate on these three elements.
Decreased Aerobic Capacity
Aerobic capacity is our body's ability to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. As you exercise your blood begins to flow to the areas of the body you are using in your workout and as the blood flows those areas require more oxygen. If you are out of shape your body can’t deliver the oxygen to those areas efficiently. If you are in shape, you will be able to do more as your body begins to be able to deliver oxygen to those areas more effectively.
This delivery of oxygen is also known as your VO2 Max. Research shows significant reductions in VO2 max within two to four weeks of detraining or non activity, which is attributed to decreased blood volume and cardiac output. Another study found that most of the aerobic capacity gained through exercise over two to three months is lost within two to four weeks.
If your teen athlete is concerned about being a better athlete next year, everything they gained during this season aerobically could be lost if they take 2-4 weeks off.
The good news is that you don’t lose muscle strength as quickly as you lose cardiovascular endurance, but it does decrease overtime. Studies vary but muscle strength can endure a 4-12 week period of not training regularly or detraining. We like to help athletes deload when needed, which is the process of lightening the volume or intensity of training, rather than stopping all together.
Elevated Blood Sugar Levels
Typically, after you eat food, your blood glucose rises and then drops as your muscles and other tissues absorb the sugar needed for energy. Exercise helps to keep blood glucose levels lower because the muscles gobble sugar up to use for the workout. So if you stop working out, your blood glucose can remain elevated after you eat.
This study showed that blood glucose levels could remain elevated after just THREE DAYS of inactivity in young, generally healthy individuals.
So what does it mean if your blood glucose is or remains elevated? Prolonged elevated blood glucose or blood sugar puts you at risk for heart disease and diabetes. These are both preventable health conditions that even a small amount of exercise can help you regulate blood glucose.
2. Reduce chance of Injury
The next reason why you should enroll your child in a summer program is because it will reduce the chance your child has of obtaining an injury. Why’s this?
Detraining or stopping a training regimine can not only cause a decrease in endurance and strength as we mentioned above, but according to this study it can affect your balance and lower body biomechanics. This is relevant because poor balance has been prospectively identified as an injury risk factor.
Continuing with a regular training program or one designed to enhance and improve your athlete’s performance will reduce the chance of them experiencing an injury upon the return to their sport.
The next reason that we believe you should enroll your child in a summer program is for socialization.
We sort of hate to share these stats but it’s something that needs to be shared. Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death in North Dakota for kids ages 10-24?
In this article, that speaks specifically about suicide in North Dakota and Minnesota, whose suicide rates have DOUBLED in the years from 1999 - 2016, the major underlying signs of despair and difficulty coping were due to weakening of social bonds that provide a support network.
“We’re not as connected.” the article states.
According to this chart published by the Center For Disease Control (CDC) North Dakota had the highest rate of increase in suicide (58%) and Minnesota was not far behind (41%). (There were 6 states between ND and MN.)
According to the Newport Academy, there are several benefits of strong social
relationships for teens including:
Lower rates of anxiety and depression
Happier, more optimistic outlook
Longer life expectancy
Stronger emotional regulation skills
Improved cognitive function
More empathy and feelings of trust toward others.
One of the biggest benefits of small group training at EHP is the community. You will hear people talk about it again and again. These are group programs for a reason. EHP Performance is committed to making you stronger and healthier in your mind, body and spirit.
Having a regular routine is not only helpful for children of younger ages, but also for teens as well. Routines help teens manage stress, develop habits and learn time management, a valuable skill that does not come naturally to many young adults.
In addition to helping Mom and Dad manage the energy needs of the household, having a routine gives teens a sense of responsibility. It helps them accomplish goals and manage some mental health symptoms that almost all humans have to deal with at some point. If your teen suffers from anxiety or overwhelm, having a routine can help them manage those symptoms.
There you have it. Four solid reasons why you should enroll your kids in a summer program. Whether you’re looking for a continuous, on-going program that runs year round or a strictly summer program for your child to develop some strength for their specific sport.
Kids ages 3-5 have their own specific needs so we designed programs to fit those and develop healthy habits in our youngest athletes.
Learn more about all the different programs EHP has to offer teens (ages 12-18) here.
Learn about the programs EHP has for Kids (Ages 6-12) here.
And as always, if you have specific questions, please contact us!