I have been vocal for a long time about my hypothesis that—when it comes to health—what you do as a kid will translate into who you are as an adult.
My friends have often poo poo-ed my theory, but it has always just made sense logical to me.
I was a gymnast as a kid. I spent my weeks as an 8-year-old training six days a week, four hours a day, 24 hours a week. It goes without saying, my flexibility, body awareness, strength etc… are better today as an adult than they would otherwise have been without gymnastics. Everyone usually accepts that.
But when I suggest that being a gymnast helps my metabolism today, I get laughed at.
No more laughing!
There’s now proof, or strong evidence at the very least, to support my apparently wild theory.
A new study published in The Journal Frontiers in Physiology (http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fphys.2017.00476/full ) suggests that being fit early in life can have health benefits that last into middle age. The study looked at the effects of exercise on gene expression, inflammation, and YES, metabolism!
This doesn’t bode all that well for today’s children, seeing as in 2013 the World Health Organization reported there are as many as 42 million obese children under the age of 5 roaming around the world.
Back to the study: It found that exercising in your early years changes how your body metabolizes calories, and how it responds to high-fat foods in adulthood. The study also suggests that early life exercise can help decrease bone mass loss, as well as inflammation, later in life.
One of the professors in the study, Elwyn C. Firth, explained: ”Bone metabolism strongly influences energy metabolism in the body, and metabolism—what you do with energy from diet—is the central crux of why some children and adults become obese.”
In other words: Do gymnastics as a kid and you’ll be able to eat entire ring of brie cheese without consequence as an adult?!!! OK, maybe not quite that simple…But it certainly suggests it’s never too early to think about, and pursue fitness!
Even if you’re skeptical as this is just one study, here are a list of 7 other known health benefits for starting fitness as young as possible—reasons to enrol your kids in a fitness program ASAP!
- Physical activity is linked to better classroom behaviour.
- Physical activity requiring balance and coordination are associated with better emotional responses and emotional control.
- Exercise is linked to decreased in depression and anxiety in children.
- Exercise promotes better self-esteem and confidence in both childhood and adolescence.
- Exercise improves quantity and quality of sleep.
- Exercise helps children develop interpersonal skills (this is especially true when we consider participation in team sports).
Have a 16-year-old? An 8-year-old? A 5-year-old? Contact us for getting them going on a fitness plan for life!