CrossFit kids fit for life
FROM boosting physical health to helping create positive mindsets in young children and teens, regular CrossFit sessions are benefiting around 40 local children a week.
Gayle Kruger, Member Services and coach with CrossFit Vivid, Emerald, said it was amazing to watch the children develop strength and skills during their weekly classes.
“The kids who’ve been doing it for 12 months – some come twice a week – you can see the development in their movement,” she said.
Ms Kruger said three weekly classes were held for children across three age groups: children, 5-8 years old (half-hour class); youth, 8-12 years old (45-minute class); and teenagers, 13-17 years old (one-hour class).
“We have lots of boys in the class, so we’re trying to build the numbers of girls,” she said. “The weights are controlled, and they’re not allowed to just go in and do whatever they want. We teach the mechanics, and then we add intensity, whether by load or number of repetitions.”
Ms Kruger said many of the children attending the CrossFit classes also played other sports such as football, touch football, and netball.
“We’ve had parents comment on how much their kids have improved in their other sport, so there’s a lot of benefits to the training,”
She said she also believed the mental health benefits of regular exercise were important for young people.
“Depression in teens can be a big thing. It can help keep them away from unhealthy distractions with a healthy lifestyle, and it teaches them about healthy choices.
“We follow the CrossFit kids program, which is a worldwide program with nine foundation movements.
“We use these but we scale them back depending on what age group the children are in.”
Ms Kruger said CrossFit for younger children focused on games incorporating specific exercises.
“We do deadlifts, but with the kids we call them ‘angry gorillas’ and we don’t give them any weight. They just use the PVC pipe.”
CrossFit Vivid runs two-hour training camps over three days on the school holidays, and the program includes water play and team work.
Ms Kruger said it was important for children to develop a sense of “belonging” and be able to work with each other.
“We like to foster an inclusive atmosphere. It’s great for mental stimulation and encouraging a positive outlook.”
ON THE UP: CrossFit classes have lifted the health and well being of local kids.