Strength training: A revolutionary tool for teens addiction
Is your teenager depressed? Having trouble in his/her relationships, lonely and not knowing which way to turn? Then, you must read this.
Did you know that the epidemic of drug abuse in teens is seen as the number one public health problem in the United States, according to a report by CASA Columbia? Teenagers are more likely to experiment with drugs than people in any other age groups and those experiments are more likely to develop into an addiction as adults, because the teenager’s brain releases more of the neurochemical dopamine associated with a feel-good sensation. This leads primitive parts of the brain to broadcast a message such as: “That feels good. Do it again” producing a desire to repeat the experience over and over again.
While recovery home and treatment centers are flourishing with continuous influx of new young patients, the statistics for long-term recovery are at the very slim count of 3%.
Could weight training serve as a helping hand in reversing the glooming statistics?
Strength training offers a revolutionary tool for kids and young adults, to strengthen the nervous system, enhance postural alignment (also know as “text neck.”) It is also an activity that increases the natural production of dopamine and endorphin’s, which is known to fight against depression and boosts mood behavior. This can serve as a reinforcing factor in establishing positive habits and setting a strong foundation towards a healthy and productive lifestyle, allowing your teens to show up in the world with the self-confidence they ought to have.
However, just as many women mistakenly fear weight lifting will make them bulky, a lot of parents and coaches avoid stirring young adults towards strength training because they think it is unsafe for kids, potentially leading to injuries such as growth-plate or joint damage. This isn’t a controversial claim anymore since it has long been proven that strength training, when done properly, is not only safe, it is extremely beneficial and recommended for teens and children as young as 8 years old. Most injuries to young lifters are the result of poor training protocols, lifting too heavy, poorly designed equipment or lack of education, not a fragile anatomy because of age.
Health benefits of a sensible strength-training program can be stupendous for young adults such as:
- Increase muscle strength and endurance
- Strengthen the bones
- Improve sports related performance
- Decrease sport’s related injuries
- Improved cardiovascular health / blood pressure / cholesterol
Strength training can also be a very efficient activity for weight control. Overweight children who begin a strength training practice are more likely to continue than those who simply do cardio, because it is more fun. The fact is, very few kids choose to spend 20 to 30 minutes doing any kind of continuous endurance exercise, regardless of the benefits or incentives. Most youngsters prefer to play hard or run fast for short amount of times, rest a minute or two, then repeat their performance. Fortunately, it is possible to provide such benefits through intelligent strength training programs and the effects and results typically exceed most people’s expectations.
Poor self-image and lack of self-esteem, which affects many teens whether thin or heavy, can also contribute towards unhealthy addictive behaviors. Strength training is a sport that allows people of all ages to be the best that they can be, either compared to others or relative to previous personal performance. It boosts self-confidence. Results are quantifiable by time and measurable in strength. The benefits are quick to appear, which can satisfy the addictive brain that craves instant gratification. Changes such as height, posture, stature, and overall demeanor become noticeable quickly. Boys and girls alike enjoy seeing muscular definition appear, because it makes them feel strong and beautiful. Youth athletes will bust their butts with a healthy ego, especially when they begin to see results. It is hard to be depressed when the results appear as a toned attractive body, without underestimating the natural surge of healthy neurochemicals to the brain.
Academically, strength training improves memory and focus, as exercise stimulates the birth of new neurons in part of the brain that is critical for memory.
Being stronger and more conditioned greatly improves school performance, and it is a great stress reliever! Teens deal with stress on many fronts, beyond peer pressure, the need to fit-in and desire to be heard, but homework overload and deadlines can really add to the stress level in a teen’s life, contributing to the desire to escape by drinking and/or the use of drugs to decompress.
On the social front, strength training also provides a healthy environment where kids and young adults can thrive socially.
So if you want to be supportive and closer to your children, then buy yourself and your kids a gym membership, set the example and start on a sensible strength-training program. Why? Because that’s where teens can go to get strong and healthy while having fun, receive all the benefits mentioned in this article, and where they can hangout to get away from peer pressures. Therefore, the gym becomes the best place to be to fight addictions and pick up good habits. You’ll be able to visit and say hi to your kids without invading their space or being judgmental. And you’ll do yourself a favor by adopting healthier habits, looking and feeling better in the process; your children will respect you for that.