Benefits of CrossFit Kids

What we all know, but choose to ignore

Training the Brain

– By Chris Cooper

In Kids, Special Populations – June 18, 2013

Dr. John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, talks to Chris Cooper about movement, the mind and CrossFit.

Can burpees help with math homework?

Dr. John Ratey thinks so.

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CrossFit Kids gets children to exercise

Even wearing just a pair of orange shorts and orange sneakers, Josh Levy was dripping sweat through his dirty blond curls as he struggled to do another rep. “Go, Josh!” cheered his fans, who angled their cellphones to capture the moment on camera. After his coach squirted her water bottle over his head, Josh somehow found the strength to crank out a few more power snatches — a complex weightlifting exercise you don’t normally expect from a 7-year-old.

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Cross-Training Even Before Puberty

On a recent cold weekday afternoon, seven children bounced into Israel Gonzalez’s Brooklyn gym shortly after school, ready to jump, somersault and do squats with kettle bells.

That last exercise is what may raise eyebrows among parents unfamiliar with CrossFit Kids, but to the children, it is as routine as playing tag.

The popularity of CrossFit for adults—which involves dead lifts and handstand push-ups—has exploded nationally, with more than 4,000 affiliates nationwide and even the Reebok CrossFit Games shown on ESPN2. Close on its heels is CrossFit Kids, a similar but much scaled-down fitness regimen for children and teenagers.

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The Teens are Coming

The Varsity competition at the Teen Exhibition could be a glimpse into the future of the CrossFit Games. On Sunday, athletes aged 15-18 competed in three events on the track.

In the first, athletes performed the same burpee/burpee pull-up/burpee muscle-up progression as the younger athletes did on Saturday. The older athletes quickly began to count off muscle-ups.

Sara Sater was the first female to successfully get over the rings, but Delaney Dangerfield knocked off three before time expired.

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Childhood obesity is a growing problem in North America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17 percent of US children are obese. While that number drops to 10 percent in Canada, according to the Canadian Obesity Network, it’s still quite tragic. Obese children often become obese adults, facing increased risks of life-threatening health conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Physical inactivity is at least partially to blame. In both countries, health organizations advocate 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity for children each day. According to Active Healthy Kids Canada, only 7 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 11 meet those guidelines. The percentage drops to 5 percent for those between the ages of 12 and 17. Less than 50 percent of all American kids achieve an adequate level of physical activity, according to the Institute of Medicine.

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