When it comes to the pursuit of fitness, you’ve often heard us trainers stress “Saftey First.” However, is there such a thing as being too safe? The New York Times did a great piece recently called “Can a Playground Be Too Safe?” questioning today’s emphasis on safety and its potential adverse affects on children.
Remember the playgrounds you grew up with high see-saws, monkey bars, ropes, jungle gyms, and apparatuses that allowed you to climb just a little too high? Nowadays you’d be hard pressed to find a playground that even had monkey bars or ropes. Heck, most don’t even have pull up bars!
You see the adverse affects in today’s elementary school children and their physical education programs. Almost none of them climb ropes, do pull ups, or play on gymnastics rings. Troy mentioned the other day that his dad wasn’t very impressed with muscle ups since he had grown up doing them simply as a way to get on the rings…so that he could do even cooler tricks. It was just part of his PE program. Nowadays that would be unheard of.
Psychology professor Ellen Sandseter says,“Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground…[They] approach thrills and risks in a progressive manner, and very few children would try to climb to the highest point for the first time they climb. The best thing is to let children encounter these challenges from an early age, and they will then progressively learn to master them through their play over the years.”
Sure, injuries can occur. The article remarks that it’s still rare that playground injuries “cause permanent damage, either physically or emotionally.” The true culprit is the overly litigious society which we live in. Fear of lawsuits have driven all the fun from playgrounds and have made them so toddler proof that a 4 year old may tire of the overly simplified and sterilized parks. Or worse, older children later fear simple physical obstacles because they never challenged themselves before and don’t know their capabilities or limitations.
What was your favorite playground equipment? Was there anything you found scary or challenging? Any big injuries or events that scarred you for life? Post to comments!
Press 3×5 or Wendler
NLI Qualifier #3
As Many Reps As Possible in 10 Minutes of:
Kettlebell Snatches (53/35#)
Rest 4 Minutes
As Many Seconds As Possible of:
L-Sit (on paralletes)
10 Deadlifts (65% 1RM)
40 Double Unders
5 Muscle Ups (sub 10 Ring Dips)