By Brett Klika, C.S.C.S.
Director of Athletics, Fitness Quest 10
The primary difference between training adults and youth is that training youth is all about giving them something physically constructive to do with “all that energy.” For adults, it’s all about giving them some energy by giving them something physically constructive to do.
Youth are little fireballs of energy. Adults are constantly looking for ways to get energy. Imagine that if at 40, you had the energy you did when you were 10! While there are certain neural and physiological factors that create a difference, let’s look at some practical behavioral differences that could help explain the contrast between energy levels in adults and youth.
Kids Sleep: Young kids go to bed at the same time every night, usually close to when the sun goes down. They have a pre bedtime ritual (brush teeth, get in pajamas, read stories, say prayers, other “calm down” activities.) Adults often go to bed at different times every night with no clear pre-bedtime process of calming down. Kids don’t go to the playground complaining about the crappy night of sleep they just had. Poor sleep patterns have been linked to a host of health problems. Develop a pre- bedtime routine to supercharge your sleep.
Kids Laugh and Giggle: Kids are always looking for an excuse to laugh or giggle. When’s the last time you had a real belly-laugh? When was the last time you got the giggles? As adults, we have to search for these opportunities to be silly. There is quite a bit of research on laughing and health.
Kids Move: It can be somewhat of a “chicken or the egg” phenomenon, but kids are constantly moving. Some argue it’s because “kids have more energy.” That is true to a certain degree. However, creating energy in our bodies is like a perpetual motion machine. When we move, we create energy. When we have energy, we want to move. Our body depends on circulation to create and distribute materials to our cells to create energy. No movement, no energy.
Kids Don’t Force Toxins Into Their System: Your car stops running well if you use bad oil, fuel, or other low-grade or downright damaging materials for operation. Your body works the same way. While kids can develop poor nutrition habits (facilitated by adults), the amount of downright toxic substances they directly ingest is normally 0. I’m talking about alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), smoking, excessive caffeine, and other “adult” vices. As adults, we know these are not good for our system, but we take them in anyway. If something isn’t good for your vehicle and you put it in the gas tank anyway, what happens to the car?
Kids Play: When was the last time you performed a physical activity without an essential, directed outcome? “Play” is physical creativity. It helps our body and mind develop the way they should. Unfortunately, even the amount of play our youth participate in is now limited. When you watch kids play, what do you see? Probably a mix of movement, social interaction, and probably some laughing to boot! Find some play outlets as an adult. That may mean playing with your kids, joining a sports league, or merely shooting hoops by yourself.
The list could go on. The point is that as children, we naturally separate ourselves from the things that damage our mind, body, and soul. As adults we are almost forced to have an affinity for them. This affects many things, including our daily energy! I have a saying, “If you want to feel like your 20, act like you’re 7”. Sleep, move, laugh, and play!
Brett Klika C.S.C.S. Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a world renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, and educator. In his 14 year career, Brett has accrued more than 20,000 hours of training with youth, athletes, executives, and every day people. He uses this knowledge and experience to motivate individuals and audiences around the world through his writing, speaking, DVD’s, an d personal correspondence.