Don’t Get Too Excited About CrossFit For Kids
Seattle Weekly News weighs in on one of the latest fitness trends, CrossFit for young children.
“The idea of preschoolers going to CrossFit is equally hilarious and unnerving. The mere mention of such a thing brings visions of my 3-year-old overturning monster truck tires or carrying buckets of water up a hill,” the publication writes. “It makes me chuckle, and it makes me cringe.”
Let’s Start At The Beginning: What Is CrossFit?
CrossFit, a fitness movement originally popular with adults, focuses on extreme and rigorous exercise. According to The CrossFit Journal, “CrossFit is a strength and conditioning system built on constantly varied, if not randomized, functional movements executed at high intensity.”
Is It Safe For Kids?
CrossFit programs for children typically start very young, with children ages three-and-a-half to five participating. The programs teach children squats, jumps, running, and (in their words) how to make “life-long healthy choices.” There are some very real concerns, however. The New York Times suggests instructors and trainers may or may not understand children’s specific needs, which can be a problem given that “CrossFit has the image of pushing people beyond their limits.”
What Are Some Saner Alternatives?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends tried and true alternatives, such as gymnastic class for kids or even enrolling children in a gymnastics and dance academy.
“Gymnastics is one of the most comprehensive lifestyle exercise programs available to children, incorporating strength, flexibility, speed, balance, coordination, power, and discipline,” LiveStrong.com explains. LiveStrong.com adds that local gymnastics classes and/or gymnastics academy programs also help kids maintain a healthy weight (as it stands, one in three U.S. children are obese or overweight) while building strong social skills. Children can start at a gymnastics and dance academy as young as four years old.
Keeping your child healthy and happy should be your top concern. It is possible to take these things too seriously, however — and CrossFit for kids may cross these lines. Opt for child-friendly, constructive, and healthy gymnastics lessons instead.