Even if you’re getting exercise, are you sure your children are? Getting kids off to the right start is one reason creating fun and effective fitness for kids is important. There are so many sedentary things to hold children’s attention today that play often involves a computer or other hand held device. The days of kids running outside all day and coming in at dark exhausted and ready to eat then go to sleep are gone. As a parent, it’s important to find ways to get your child moving to help them achieve fitness, a healthier lifestyle and even better grades. Studies show that working out can help your child be smarter and perform better in school.
Be their example and workout together.
Playing games with your kids and working out doesn’t have to be a chore or anything like you do at the gym. You can lead the group in follow the leader and get them moving right along with you. For younger children, a day at the zoo—not the real zoo, but the one in your backyard or living room where they become the animals—can work all their muscles as they pretend to be elephants, leap like panthers and fly like a bird around the room. As children age, playing tag, basketball, dodgeball and even jumprope with them can get them started on a healthy lifestyle while providing great exercise for you.
Consider martial arts, dance class or team sports for exercising.
There’s a lot to be said for dance classes, particularly ballet. It builds muscle tone, flexibility, discipline and confidence. If your child isn’t the tutu type, a martial arts class does the same, but is a bit more active. Team sports, such as baseball, basketball and soccer are also good to get your child running and exercising. In fact, most active sports and training will do the trick, but make sure it’s what your child wants to do.
Go hiking or spend a day at the beach.
If you want your child to enjoy the hike, include something they love. If they adore watching animals, put a squirrel feeding station in the yard and when you hike, collect acorns, buckeyes, pecans and walnuts on the ground to fill the feeder. If they like rocks or sea life, collecting shells along the beach and interesting rock specimens adds another dimension to each walk. Share that interest and help them catalog each find.
- Play strong man. Have weights at home and show your child how to lift properly to build muscles. Even girls will benefit from doing this.
- Go for a family bike ride either in a local park or to one. Make sure you have water bottles for the bike if the day is hot. A picnic in the park is the perfect way to end the day.
- Start skipping rope. Whether each person has his or her own rope to skip or you play double dutch, jumping rope gets your circulation going and will theirs too.
- Inline skating, roller skating and ice skating are all great hobbies the family can do together. Make it a weekly event.