by Aprel Phelps-Downey
Exercise gives kids a creative outlet for turning excess energy into adventurous action. They can move, shake and run in ways that are limited only by their imagination. By helping kids engage in fun workouts, parents help build a positive relationship with physical activity that will pave the way for a strong, healthy future. Kids fall in love with being physically active without an awareness of the benefits they gain in the process. Keep that secret to yourself and just let your kids have fun moving and grooving.
Exercise improves children’s physical health and wellbeing. Engaging in physical activity helps develop muscle and bone strength. They eventually learn the importance of being physically active and how that impacts their cardiovascular health. Children who work out on a regular basis will likely see blood pressure and weight levels remain in a healthy range as they move into adulthood.
Being physically active has the greatest impact on a child’s psychological well being, decreasing anxiety and attention issues. A workout allows an anxious child to turn an inward focus into an outward focus. For example, acquiring a new skill that takes a workout to the next level gives children a sense of accomplishment. That boosts their self-esteem and teaches them the importance of mindfulness and living in the moment.
What Should be the Focus of Exercise for Children Under 12 Years of Age?
While the primary focal point of exercise should be increased physical activity, it also needs to be fun. Encourage their participation by creating a list of activities that the kids will enjoy without the realization that they are exercising. When creating a workout routine for kids, plan ahead and be flexible when things don’t work out according to your original plan.
Discover ways to create fun workouts for kids with this list of exercises.
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Lunges are a great way to warm up and get ready for a fun workout with your kids. Start by standing in an upright position, then step forward with one leg. Lightly touch your back knee to the floor as your front knee bends forward. Repeat the movement with the opposite leg and continue alternating legs for as long as you and your kid are enjoying the activity. You can make it fun by engaging in a race or seeing who can go the farthest distance.
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2. Mountain Climbers
Mountain Climbers are a great way to spark your kid’s imagination while keeping the physical activity moving. Start by laying on the floor as if you were going to do a push-up. Move one foot forward toward your shoulder area, then back to the starting position. Repeat the movement with your other leg and alternate legs as if you were rock climbing. Turn it into an activity challenge to see who can be the fastest bear up the mountain to keep your child engaged.
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3. Jump or Drop
Jump or Drop is the perfect exercise to do now that your heart rate is up and your kids are having fun working out with you. Start by challenging your kid to jump as high as she possibly can into the air. When you shout “Drop!” your kid must squish down as close to the ground as she possibly can. Turn the exercise into a “Simon Says” style of game where you call out “jump” or “drop” and see how long your kid can keep up with the activity without missing a direction.
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4. Gorilla Walk
Gorilla Walk gives your child the chance to unleash her inner animal and stay active at the same time. Start by placing your hands and feet on the floor, mirroring the way a gorilla ambles. Move forward one leg and arm at a time, as you pace around, exhibiting your best gorilla moves. Add some classic gorilla noises as you pretend to go on a hunt through the forest. Let your kid’s imagination take over at that point and get ready for a creative adventure.
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5. Traffic Light
Traffic Light gets everyone moving while practicing to pay attention at the same time. Pick an exercise to start with, such as jumping jacks, and call out “green light.” The kids continue performing the exercise until you shout “red light” which prompts them to stop. Challenge them to hold that last position for a few minutes before calling out another exercise option. After calling out a few exercises, turn the table on the game and let your kid give you the directions when to go, stop and freeze.
The arrival of fall provides a great opportunity to take the fun-filled workouts outside and enjoy some beautiful scenery at the same time. When you keep workouts fun, you open the door for spending quality time together and you pave the way for healthy habits that will benefit your kids as they continue on in life.
Aprel Phelps-Downey is a brand storyteller, author, and writer specializing in small business marketing services. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of South Florida. She resides in Eastern Tennessee with her husband and daughter.