Making physical activities part of your family’s routine can help everyone attain their fitness goals while having fun. Children spend most of their time watching TV, playing mobile games, or strapped in car seats. This doesn’t only prevent them from engaging in exercise that strengthens their muscles, heart, and lungs, but also introduces them to sedentary lifestyles which lead to obesity in adulthood.
In reference to Professor Stephen Virgilio, from Adelphi University and the author of Active Start for Healthy Kids, introducing the good habit of physical activity to kids and toddlers comes with lifetime health benefits. It’s never too late to start, he adds.
Here are top 5 exercises to perform with your family:
1. Lifting Lighter Weights
Lifting weights with your kids can go a long way in strengthening the muscles for the young athletes. However, it should be carefully done to prevent injuries as weights can put too much strain on young muscles, cartilages and tendons.
If you are working out with your kids, try light resistance and controlled movements. These should be carried out with special emphasis on proper technique as well as safety. You can engage your children in strength training workouts using his/her own body weight or resistance tubing. Alternatively, use free weights or machine weights.
Strength training improves your child’s muscle strength and endurance, prevents sport-related injuries and improves overall performance in sport activities.
Just like with adults, pushups can be beneficial to kids. Pushups help to keep muscles toned and strong. They are strength training exercises that should be performed regularly by kids. Because of the fragile nature of young muscles, tendons and ligaments, body weight exercises for kids are safer and effective than dealing with equipment or weights which can pose an injury risk.
Pushups target the upper-body muscles and can be modified for kids who can’t perform full repetitions when getting started. It doesn’t matter the modifications you make for your kids as long as you get them engaged physically in a fun-filled way.
3. Bear Walks
Bear walk is a developmental progression that starts from crawling. Adults also exercise in a quadruped (all fours like crawling). However, for kids, they do it better when walking on their hands and feet. You can simply set up a course around the yard or inside your living room and compete with your kids to find out who is the fastest “bear walker.”
Ensure that your body weight and that of your kid rest on the arms and legs in order to encourage the development of scapular control and the reciprocal pattern common in walking movement. This is an awesome exercise for activating the diagonal muscle systems of the front and back of the core.
4. Jumping Rope
Jumping rope is a fun way to exercise with your children. It is a favorite pastime for many kids that come with excellent benefits to cardiovascular health. It’s an inexpensive and portable way to keep your family physically engaged.
You can take a rope with you to the park in the company of your kids or compete with them at the backyard. Ensure that your kids are wearing sneakers, light-weight athletic clothing and socks.
Let them have fun on a level surface with some cushioning like a flat piece of lawn. Ensure that when your child has both feet on the middle of the rope, the handles are only reaching slightly above his/her shoulders.
5. Walking or Cycling
Young children love cycling because they like the speed and it is full of fun. In addition, it gives them the freedom and independence to move around. Instead of waiting for your kids to grow and learn cycling on their own, train them to ride at an early age. They will appreciate when you cycle around as a family.
Alternatively, walk along with your kids at the park or in your garden instead of allowing them sit in front of mobile games. Cycling and walking helps strengthen the lower-body muscles. They also improve balance and stability with benefits running into adulthood.
There are several ways you can exercise as a family and reap a host of health benefits together. However, extra care should be taken when working out with young children to prevent the risk of injury.
Introducing exercises to your children at an early age can prevent sedentary lifestyles and obesity in adulthood. It is also advisable to engage your children in domestic chores that involve physical activities like gardening, watering flowers, or moving items in your house. It’s not only a great way to reconnect, but also good for the health of your family.
Related Video: Top 6 Workouts to Tone Your Body