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Youth Development. Myths & Tips

The school holidays is a great time of the year for parents to get their kids improving their health and development with the correct gym routine.

For this reason i am going to go through some quick tips, scientific support and reasons why every child and parent should take full advantage of this time of the year to get a youth development plan started.

1. Resistance training does'nt strictly mean heavy weights. Although weights is one form of resistance most youth programmes would begin with body weight as the resistance and also include flexibility and mobility exercises. This can progress to resistance bands, Medicine balls, unstable surfaces and eventually weughts.

2. Safety. A resistance plan is not only safe for youth but has a number of huge benefits such as:

  • Improved movement & motor skills
  • Mental & social development
  • Facilitates weight control
  • Strengthens bones
  • Increases resistance to Injuries


3. Scientigic support - The World Health Organisation 2010 - recommend for youth aged 5-17 participation in planned exercise activities which include those that strengthen muscle & bone.

Myth 1 - Minimum age? - A study in 2009 by Faigenbaum & westeoff concluded that children can begin resistance training when they have the emotional maturity to accept and follow instructions or directions. In most cases if a child is ready to play sport then he or sheis ready to resistance train.

Myth 2 - Stunts growth? - In all research carried out in the area of youth resistance training there has been no reports of injury to growth cartilage or anything to suggest that it will negatively impact growth and maturation during childhood and adolescents.

It is however vital that children do not recieve 'watered down' adult programmes.

Programmes must be specific to their abilities and stage of development and need to be supervised and designed by a coach who is qualified and experienced so that the child develops adequately and safely.

Part of the training of the child is providing education which helps their decision making when they are away from the coach.




Exercise & Mental Health

Posted by Aspire Ireland (aspireland) on Oct 27 2016
News & Blog >> Blog

Mental Health has become a huge topic over the last number of years, with more and more people suffering from related issues. Unfortunately it is not as well-known as it should be that one of the most effective ways to improve mental health is the correct prescription of exercise.

Although exercise is better known for weight loss, fitness and improving muscle tone, it has been shown to have a positive effect on Depression, Anxiety and ADHD. It has also been shown to relieve stress, improve both memory and sleep whilst boosting overall mood. There is a huge amount of scientific research that backs up these statements. One of these is the Perrier Study from New York that showed that exercise lead to improved confidence, wellbeing, reduced anxiety among the studies participants. This is backed up further by a study by S. Lichten which showed that as well as improving mood, exercise increases mental functioning.

How does this happen?

Without going into too much science, mood depression and anxiety are improved when exercise causes the release of endorphins which are powerful chemicals in the brain that energise your mind & body and cause the ‘feel good’ feeling.

When it comes to work and productivity exercise promotes many small changes in the brain such as neural growth and the creation of new neural pathways. These have a positive effect on our learning, critical thinking and memory.On top of good mood exercise boosts the Hormones Dopamine, Norepinephrine and Serotonin and as a result of exercise these improve focus and concentration.

When it comes to type of exercise, a study by P/Clarkson showed that resistance training resulted in a greater production in feel good hormones than any other form of exercise. This is due to the forces applied to the muscle fibre and the acute reaction of the body in response to this type of training. For these reasons mentioned above everybody can benefit from taking part in resistance training. Based on all the scientific evidence out there exercise can be a simple, cost effective way to combat mental health issues without any negative side effects associated with most medications.


Clarkson P, and I Tremblay. Exercise induced muscle damage repair and adaptations in humans. 65 (1) : 1-6 1988.

Last changed: Oct 27 2016 at 10:25 AM