Why Functional Training Benefits *All* Kids, Not Just Student Athletes

Growing up, I remember my dad coaching my football and baseball teams and I always that knew when I became a father I wanted to do the same for my kids. I started slowly…volunteering to help, then signing on as an assistant coach, and finally taking the plunge as a head coach. I didn’t realize the growth I would experience, not only as a father to my own four children, but as teacher/coach and mentor to others. I also didn’t see this coaching thing playing a role in my decision to become a personal trainer, but looking back, I think this brought to the surface the passion I have for fitness and igniting that passion in others.

In another blog I’ll talk about my growth and what it means to me to coach. Today, I want to talk about kids and why functional exercise is so important to their overall development…and I don’t mean just in their development as an athlete.

Without a doubt, increasing strength, speed, and stamina are important for athletics (and sometimes overlooked in favor of sport-specific training, but that’s another blog, too!). And, yes, we love working with area athletes. But as a house/recreation league coach, I  recognize the importance of simply learning to move well and how that can translate to improved performance on – and off – the field.

Teach a kid how to “hinge” their hips correctly, work on lunging, single leg balance/strength, or sequence muscle activation, and you’d be shocked at how quickly they see dramatic improvement, regardless of the sport. A hinge is how virtually any ball is picked up off the ground, whether it’s a soccer goalie, baseball, or lacrosse player, and pretty much the basis of most athletic sports requiring speed or explosiveness.

But functional training doesn’t just benefit kids who play sports. The physical and mental benefits of regular exercise transcend the desire to play sports or engage in athletics. The physical benefits of general exercise are well known and include:

  • — Building strong bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Aides in obesity by controlling weight, building lean muscle, and reduction of fat.
  • Provides prevention or delays in development of high blood pressure and can aid in reducing high blood pressure in teens with hypertension.
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes or pre-diabetes.


And the benefits go beyond just physical health…

  • Studies have shown that children who participate in regular exercise have improved memory as a result of better brain function.
  • Children who exercise regularly tend to sleep better. And, thanks to Adrien, we all know the benefits of good sleep
  • Active children have the ability to concentrate better, even at the end of a long school day.
  • Studies show that exercise decreases anxiety, reduces depression, and improves mood and outlook in children.
  • Last, and our passion at FOR, learning how to move well can bolster a kid’s confidence because they know they are moving well and can jump into most athletic or playground activities and not embarrass themselves.


Whether it is for sport or overall general health, at Fitness on the Run we’ve always loved helping kids become healthier and develop a love for fitness. This summer we’re adding a new 5-week Student Athlete program for children ages 12 and older. With options to sign up for either 10 sessions (2x/week) or five sessions (1x/week), we will meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5pm. Sessions will focus on general strength and conditioning in a fun and encouraging environment. Whether your child is training for a sport or just want to get active, this program is for for them!  If you’re interested in learning more or signing up, email me at jason@fitnessontherun.net.


  • The latest from Jason
Sometimes life takes you on a long winding path to your true passion. Having spent more than 17 years in marketing, most recently in healthcare, Jason has decided to give up office life to pursue his life-long passion. An athlete his entire life, Jason wants to share his experience and passion for fitness to help others achieve their health goals and maybe even find the same passion.

Fitness on the Run is Fitness for Life. Combining a focus on strong bodies and strong minds with a robust wellness education program and unparalleled personalized attention, we provide fitness for health, longevity and functionality.


Fitness on the Run
210 N Lee St.,
Alexandria, VA 22314


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