Kids at home do not have to spend all day watching TV or playing computer games. They need to do all sorts of physical activities, too. Now, I don’t mean going to the gym and lifting weights. When creating a workout for kids, it should be these three things: age-appropriate, doable and fun!
Like adults, exercises for kids are essential for their physical health. Specifically, staying active strengthens muscles and bones, promotes a healthy weight and prevents diseases like hypertension and diabetes. Moreover, a regular exercise routine helps children sleep better, reduce stress and gives them ample energy for schoolwork.
Planning a Good Workout for Kids
So, how often should your kids’ workouts be? According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), children aged 2 to 4 should have at least 180 minutes of exercise time and active play. Kids aged 5 to 17, on the other hand, should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity.
In Australia, playing sports like swimming and soccer is the top activity for kids. But what if they are staying at home or homeschooling? Here are a few indoor exercises you can add to their routine.
Make sure to include stretching at the start and end of workouts for kids. It may seem too easy to count as moderate activity, but it has an indispensable role in prepping the children’s minds and bodies. Breathing in and out while extending the arms or legs reduces tension and makes muscles more flexible. More importantly, it normalises the heart rate and prevents injuries post-workout.
I’m sure your kids will love doing simple yoga poses like the cobra, tree and happy baby. Alternatively, they can also do side, hamstring and calf stretches. For something different, why not start your kids’ workout with a round of Twister? It will have the same effect as regular stretches, only more fun!
2. Lunges and Squats
Both classic exercises are easy for kids to do and excellent for building leg strength, endurance and confidence to perform other fitness activities. What I like about them is they are easy to diversify. For instance, the children can perform a mix of side, backward and forward lunges. For squats, ask them to hop each time they stand up to start increasing their heart rate.
Jumps are one of the most effective ways to get the heart pumping. Good thing kids are fond of jumping around! Aside from cardiovascular fitness, jumping also improves strength, balance and coordination. Plus, there are several jumping variations to make a workout for kids more enjoyable.
For instance, if you have a mini-trampoline at home, allot a few minutes of trampoline jumping into their routine. It’s a delightful form of exercise that they won’t feel working out at all. However, although most trampolines today have good safety features, make sure you keep an eye on your little ones while rebounding.
There is no need to buy a trampoline if you don’t have one, though. Let the kids do jumping exercises without any equipment instead. Jumping jacks, for example, also have the same cardio benefits. If your child is into sports like soccer or basketball, tuck jumps are highly effective in improving athletic performance, too.
4. Skipping Activities
Skipping is another fun aerobic activity to include in your indoor workout for kids. On top of increasing their heart rate, this exercise also strengthens core muscles. And like jumping exercises, it requires body balance and coordination, which in turn boost brainpower.
So, how can kids enjoy skipping activities more? Turn them into games, of course! A homemade hopscotch board and bean bag are all you need to have them hopping and laughing while burning calories. If you have jump ropes at home, organise a skipping rope tournament and see who among the contenders can make the most skips within the time limit. A skipping obstacle relay is also an excellent workout finale before the cool-down phase.
5. Animal Moves
Young boys and girls will have a blast working out while mimicking different animal moves. The crab crawl, for example, is a favourite for being a funny and silly exercise for kids. First, teach them how to walk with their hands and feet while keeping their chest and tummy up. It’s excellent for enhancing core and arm strength and having a good laugh. Once they get the hang of it, turn the exercise into a race and have them crab walk their way to the finish line!
The bear crawl is similar to the crab walk move, only in reverse. The kids will still walk on all fours. But their bellies should be facing the floor this time. Have the children practice the animal movement by asking them to bear crawl from room to room. When ready, organise a bear crawl obstacle course or treasure hunt!
6. Ball Games
Include a ball game activity into your workout for kids, and your children’s eyes will light up for sure! And no, you don’t need a humongous ball that will endanger your precious flower vase. Small plastic balls from a toy store should do. Now, grab some laundry baskets and have a ball shooting contest at the garage!
If you can find some colourful foam balls, they’re great for catching games, too. Kids will love playing with a toy bowling set as well. For little ones into yoga or Pilates, an exercise ball is a great way to incorporate other moves into their daily routine.
More Tips for a Great Workout for Kids
There are plenty of other fun exercises for kids that your little one will not mind doing every day. Ask fellow mums what activities are they doing at home to keep their children active. Also, if your child has a health condition, consult your doctor first to know which aerobic exercise is best. Apply these helpful tips as well:
- Exercise as a family. Use it as an opportunity to bond together and motivate each other.
- Make it a routine. Write workout time into your kids’ daily tasks so they can turn it into a habit.
- Add exercise variety. Overcome kids’ short attention span with new moves and games to try.
- Wear workout clothes. Plus, create a great music playlist to go with your fun exercise games!
- Set up a progress tracker. Ask them to record how many jumps or skips they make each day.
- Give out rewards. Getting through a week of exercise without problems naturally deserve a trip to the park or extra screen time!
Lastly, make sure to complement the kids’ active lifestyle with other immunity boosters. Now, time to make that fun workout plan!