Any parent with children above one year can tell you how exhausting it can be to keep up with them. Healthy children have loads of energy and you should feel worried if your ball of energy starts to look like s/he is fizzling out. There are several reasons why your kids may seem inexhaustible including the fact that children live in the moment without being bogged down by worries about the future. Another reason is that kids are curious about everything and therefore need to run around discovering as much as possible about the world around them.
Exercising with your children is one way to redirect all their extra energy into activities that will have health benefits for you and them. Some of the health benefits your family can expect to enjoy from exercising together include: greater bonding, developing healthy habits early in life, improved physical fitness and avoiding obesity and other lifestyle diseases. This last benefit is especially important since statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that childhood obesity is on the rise across the globe with 6% of girls and 8% of boys being overweight and obese. Below are five exercises you can do with your kids and help them enjoy numerous health benefits;
This is one of the best exercises to do with highly active kids since it consumes a lot of energy. A burpee is a full-body exercise that combines several movements including; squats, thrusts, pushups, planks, crunches, and stands. They are highly effective and can help you burn between 10-15 calories per minute. You will receive maximum benefits if you practice proper form and technique.
Burpees have several health benefits; first of all, they provide total body toning. This is because they work muscles in your spine, hips, calves, abdomen, and glutes. Further, combining so many moves in one exercise causes the body to burn maximum calories which helps you lose weight and reveals the toned muscles underneath. Secondly, burpees can be done anywhere without the need for equipment. Third, you can add them to any workout and enjoy the benefits of performing different movements and exercises.
To perform burpees with your kids, have everyone start in a squat position. Next, kick your feet back until your bodies are in a plank position. Do one pushup. Jump back into a squat and straight up into a standing position. Return to starting position and repeat as needed.
A lunge is a lower body exercise that uses your bodyweight and sometimes additional weights to condition the muscles in your lower body. They work quads, hamstrings, glutes, and muscles in the inner thigh. There are several variations of lunges including front, side, reverse, curtsy and walking lunges.
Lunges have several health benefits. First of all, muscles in the lower body are among the larges in your entire body and working them helps to raise your metabolism and boost weight loss. Secondly, a stronger lower body means greater balance and stability. Third, lunges give you a stronger spine that is less prone to injury.
Performing lunges with children can be challenging since children have not yet fully developed their balance. However, lunges themselves help to improve balance so keep doing them until you achieve the desired results. To do a basic front lunge, stand straight with feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides. Step your right leg in front and slowly lower your body until your knees are at a ninety-degree angle. Using the muscles in your hips and feet, slowly push back to starting position. Switch sides and repeat. Perform the required number of reps.
Crunches are abdominal exercises that work your rectus abdominis and help you build core strength while toning your midsection. The main difference between crunches and sit-ups is that crunches mainly work the abdominal muscles while sit-ups work muscles in the abdomen, chest, hips, lower back, and neck.
Crunches have several benefits for both kids and adults. These include; a stronger core, improved balance, and a better posture.
To perform crunches with your kids, have everyone lie down on an exercise mat with their arms at their sides and their knees bent. Instruct them to place their hands behind their heads for support. Ask them to engage their core and slowly pull their torso off the ground until it is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Next, they should return to the starting position and repeat to fatigue.
Side leg raises
Side leg raises are a lower-body exercise that works your quads, glutes and core muscles. Leg raises are relatively easy to perform which means that they are ideal for kids and other people who have not exercised for a long time. Further, you can make them more challenging by adding ankle weights as you get fitter.
Side leg raises have many health benefits including outer thigh toning, increased stability and balance, improved flexibility and many others. They are especially beneficial for kids since many kids haven’t yet fully developed their sense of balance and can use side leg lifts to do so. Side leg raises can also be used as part of your warm-up to get your body ready for a more intense workout.
Side leg raises can be performed standing up or lying down on your side. To perform this exercise, get into the prescribed position i.e. standing or lying down on your side. Place your hands straight by your side and bend your knees slightly. Slowly raise your leg until it is at a 45-degree angle. Lower and repeat the prescribed number of times.
Weight training in your back yard
One way to teach your kids about the importance of building muscle is by introducing them to weight-bearing activities early. Children as young as seven can start weight training while those younger can start with simple stretches. Ensure to use an age-appropriate program for each child as opposed to scaling down adult workouts.
Weight training has several benefits for children including; stronger muscles, fewer injuries in school sports and better performance in their sport of choice.
When introducing kids to weight training, start them off with bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and slowly train them on weight training basics and techniques. Once they have mastered these, you can then start them on a customized program and progress from there.
Exercising with your kids is a great way to teach them healthy habits early, improve physical fitness and bond together as a family. There are many activities and exercises you can enjoy as a family and all you need to do is find the ones that work best for you. By committing to exercising regularly, you can reap many physical and psychological benefits and ensure that your family is strong, healthy and fit.