Childhood obesity has become a major cause for concern throughout the United States. Children between the ages of 12 and 18 often fall into a regular pattern of unhealthy eating and sedentary living that ultimately leads to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, respiratory issues, joint problems and a host of other maladies that will negatively impact their life as an adult. To help prevent this and to give our youth their best chance at a healthy adult life, it is essential to educate them in the importance of health and wellness as it relates to every aspect of their day to day life.
Middle Schools and High Schools are key to this education, as they are already preparing youths in various fields of learning. Whereas health classes often teach the basics of the human body in an academic environment and physical education classes teach the basics of physical performance, a properly equipped weight room compliments the phys ed program and further enhances the students’ understanding of the importance of physical health and well-being by giving them an experience that they can measure the results in real time. This becomes a gateway to success in teaching a healthy lifestyle.
Here are the Top 5 Reasons Why a Weight Room is Essential for a Middle School and High School
- Instills a Mindset of Health and Wellness – Unlike strictly academic teaching, learning to take a small portion of time every few days for weight training ingrains the importance of such physical activity in youths. With weight training taught as an essential element to overall development, over time the youth begins to understand that it’s an integral part of their overall health and well-being. Weight training plays a vital role in instilling this mindset of active, healthy living.
- Deepens the Understanding How the Body Functions – The expressed movements required for various exercises with weight machines teaches proper body positioning and skeletal alignment while also showing the youth how the body functions as a whole to perform different exercises. This understanding allows youths to perform better in all aspects of their life, whether in recreational activities, athletics, or just day to day affairs. Moreso, the understanding of how a body functions teaches youths how it does not function well without a regular exercise program. Selectorized machine weight training provides a quick, well balanced training regimen for youths to follow.
- Enhances Cardiovascular and Strength Development – Combatting youth obesity requires a sustained program of education and physical follow through. Combining weight training with cardiovascular conditioning speeds the metabolism, increases respiratory function and develops strength. These combine to lose fat and gain lean muscle. The adage that a body at rest stays at rest, while a body in motion stays in motion is clearly seen in weight training. Weight training keeps the body in a state of heightened physicality throughout the day and is a major factor in reversing the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
- Builds Character – One of the most important life lessons that is learned through weight training is that of pushing through doing something that you simply don’t feel like doing. Whether in a phys ed class or an afterschool athletics program, the weight room is a place where you are pushed to perform something that is beyond your comfort zone. Every time that a youth goes through a complete workout session in the weight room, they are learning one of the most important lessons in life – that of stepping up and doing what you have to do as opposed to being complacent and doing just what you want to do. At the end of a complete weight room training session, the youth will feel a sense of accomplishment, and this accomplishment will soon show in their physique and endurance, thereby giving them more reason to continue training. Weight training builds character and character builds strong, resourceful adults
- Provides Tangible and Quantifiable Results – Unlike other forms of physical exercise, weight training provides a quick and quantifiable result. Youths will easily measure their success by the amount of weight and/or repetitions that they are using as compared to when they started. They will witness these results on their body. Their friends will comment on their results. These tangible results encourage them to continue their training and deepen them in their living a positive, healthy lifestyle. Weight training brings about clear and quick, positive results.
With these Top 5 Reasons Why a Weight Room is Essential for a Middle School and High School, it is important that the weight room is properly designed for this targeted age group. Free weight equipment, (Olympic weights, barbells, dumbbells, etc.), may be good for the oldest of this age group, but the best weight equipment for a Middle School and High School is Selectorized Weight Stack Machines
Selectorized weight stack machines provide a safe and effective miens of training each major muscle group. Each machine focuses on a particular muscle group while placing the youth in the correct ergonomic position throughout the exercise. This maintains proper form throughout the movement so that the youth can’t “cheat” on the movement to get more weight lifted. Proper form keeps the weight amount where it should be and allows the youth to lift without concern of overuse or excess strain on their body.
A properly outfitted Middle School and High School weight room will feature a complete circuit of selectorized weight stack machines to give a full body workout in a single, quick session. For a PE class, students can move from one machine to the next in an orderly fashion and easily hit all of the major muscle groups in a period. The machines need to be easy to understand and to use, properly designed with modern movements, and durable. A New Gym Specialist will be able to help with the right selection of machines for the school environment.
There should also be a small compliment of cardiovascular equipment. Bikes are ideal for warming up prior to weight training, but they can also be used as a stand alone exercise themselves. Treadmills are another cardio machine that are also good to have if space permits.
All of the equipment, (strength machines and cardio machines), should be full commercial gym quality and able to be used by faculty members should they choose ton do so. That’s another good reason for the treadmills.
NOTE: All equipment should be used under the supervision of an adult.
With the right set up, a Middle School and High School can become a place where youths develop not only their minds, but also where they develop and maintain their bodies for a long, healthy and vibrant life.
Written by Bill at BAMPSCO International Inc. / Gymstarters