Parents face increasing challenges on their quest to get children to live healthy, active lifestyle through exercise. The ubiquity of televisions, cell phones, iPads and video games as part of an all too busy existence has made it even more difficult to motivate children to be active. But just when it seems a daunting “to do”….don’t give up! Here are some simple ways to ensure your children stay on the move, learn about their bodies and have fun along the way!
Props – No fancy gym equipment needed
An agility ladder is an easily transportable fitness prop that will keep your kids engaged and can be used just about anywhere. This versatile item folds up for easy transport and just kids love them. No directions needed, simply roll it out and run, skip, and jump your way to fun fitness. In a pinch for time or not near an equipment store? Make your own impromptu agility ladder with some colored tape on a hardwood floor. Encourage kids to use their imagination by making up some moves of their own or ask dad to show of some of his old football drills as a way to keep it interesting.
Backyard games – Remember those spirited and playful activities you did as a child?
Guess what, they are still fun! Potato sacks, tug of war, obstacle course, and jumping rope are all still great ways to enjoy the outdoors and spend quality family time together. Go back to basics and show your kids how it was done in the good ol’ days!
Partner exercises are a great motivator for kids and a good way to get siblings and friends to exercise together with no equipment required. Squats, planks, and bridges are a few of our favorites. Give this one a try!
Back to Back Partner Squat: Grab a fit friend, stand back to back and link your arms on both sides. Walk your feet out a few inches and simultaneously start to lower to 90 degrees and hold by pressing into one another. If you’re up for a bigger challenge you can start from the ground up and see if you can get into squat position without coming unlinked!
Little Pretzels – Kids just love twisting themselves into shapes
Ahhh .. the flexibility of youth! Adults call it yoga but kids just call it plain fun. All they need are their bodies and a little encouragement. Use animals and shapes to challenge kids to show you how to make themselves into a tree, eagle, or triangle.
With the dramatic increase in endurance racing events nationwide, there are tons of events offered in just about every community. Many moms and dads are knocking out 5K and 10k races on the weekends to stay fit. Now kids can participate too! Check local race organizations for ‘Fun Runs’ and make it a family affair! This is a great opportunity to participate in an event together and you can even include your kids in your weekly training runs. Log your miles on a family training log for extra motivation. There are also many easy to use apps & pedometers out there for you and your kids to get tracking.
Walk, Run, Jump the Talk
Role modeling is one of the most influential tools we have and by showing children that exercise and good health can not only be fun but are also a priority for your family you can pass on the value of a healthy lifestyle. If you have a positive attitude towards exercise, there is a good chance they will too. Go get ‘em!