Weight lifting can tone muscles, improve strength

FROM TOTS TO TEENS

April 09, 1991|By Dr. Modena Wilsonand Dr. Alain Joffe

Q: What do you think of a 10-year-old boy lifting weights?

A: If your son's interest in lifting weights is founded in a desire to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bo Jackson, he'll be disappointed. At 10, his body is not yet secreting large enough amounts of testosterone to produce significant muscle growth through weight lifting.

Nonetheless, boys can improve muscle tone and increase strength by lifting weights. It is important the regimen not be excessive; tired muscles are more prone to injury. Your son should never lift alone since a dropped weight can lead to serious injury.

You may want to raise the subject of anabolic steroids. Recent studies show many teens use these drugs to enhance their physique and athletic abilities. While steroids can accomplish these goals, they have serious side effects. A balanced discussion can help deter any interest he may have in using them.

Dr. Wilson is director of pediatric primary care of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.

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