5 Fun and Easy Exercises for Children
What’s the first thing your children will say out loud when you utter the word ‘exercise’? Is it a grunt? Or is it a two-letter word that starts with N and ends with O? Or do they secretly run to their room as a way of showing reluctance?
Wait, do they say YES and are eager to do it?
Whatever the answer you receive, one thing we should take note of is that exercise for kids should be fun. That’s a way to keep them consistent.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, children aged 6 to 12 years old are recommended an average of 60 minutes of physical exercise daily.
The recommendations may seem challenging, but the good news is your children can meet them through typical childhood games and imaginative plays.
Here are 5 fun and easy exercises for your children to enjoy:-
If your children are doing this every single day then that is GREAT!
Yes, it’s just about the simplest exercise there is but… it is also one of the best for children to enjoy their time! It is perfect for kids’ seemingly endless energy and need for speed. It burns a lot of calories and it is an easy exercise to do since it requires minimal equipment.
An associate professor specializing in pediatrics Candice Taylor Lucas, MD confirms that running can help your children to develop a healthier heart, lungs and better coordination. It will also improve their cognitive performance.
Running seems basic but if you spend a bit of your time figuring out all the creative ways that you can do, you will be opened up to a vast number of ideas. You can change things up while running; you can vary movement patterns like doing a zig-zag or backwards running. Just be creative and we guarantee you that your children will have an awesome time!
Yoga & Stretching
Lucas says that yoga is a great form of exercise to promote deep breathing and mindfulness along with building strength and flexibility which can reduce stress.
A 2015 research study also found that yoga and stretching may reduce anxiety, improve self-confidence and enhance academic performance in children.
Yoga poses can put a smile on your children’s faces. It’s fun and it’s also giggly at times. Some fun poses include Tree Pose, Cobra and Happy Baby.
Don’t forget to get them to stretch to keep muscles strong and prevent injuries. Stretches to try include side stretch, hamstring stretch and arms to the sky.
As children love to imitate adults, we suggest you do yoga with them. You will absolutely have a blast!
Ryan Ingley, an athletic trainer with Nationwide Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine says that crab walks are muscle-strengthening exercises that can help to improve one’s coordination.
You can start by teaching them this movement where the torso and tummy are up while moving using your hands and feet on the ground with legs bent at the knees.
Once your children have gotten the hang of it, you can set up an obstacle course where they need to crab crawl all the way through the maze. They can also perform a circus act where they have to balance items on their stomach and see who is the fastest to get to the finish line.
Bear crawls are also full-body movements that help increase strength and coordination, especially the shoulders, chest, arms and hamstrings in the legs.
Easier than a crab walk, a bear crawl is simply walking on all fours with your stomach facing the floor. Lucas says that as a parent, you can encourage them to do this exercise by tapping them into imaginations. They can play pretend where they can be bears, moving around trying to find food and shelter. They can also leap over each other’s backs in this pose as long as they are aware of the safety rules.
There’s nothing more fun than a game! Not only will your children be entertained, they will also know what it means to work together in a team.
This is your time to be as creative as possible! For one, you can suggest your children play ‘Red Light, Green Light’. If you have seen the popular Korean series, Squid Game, you will be familiar with this. A person (best to be the parent) needs to be at the finishing line. Face backwards and when the game starts, you may face towards the runners any time which is a cue that they need to stop running and moving altogether (red light). 10 seconds after, the person will then face backwards again and only then will the runners run towards the finishing line (green light). The first person to reach the line wins.
Egg-and-spoon races can also be fun where your children and anyone involved must balance an egg or similarly shaped item on a spoon and race with it to the finishing line.
Games like tug of war and giant slippers can also build muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness and endurance. In this way, games can also be turned into a form of exercises.
All in all, you can encourage your children to perform different types of exercise by tapping into imaginative plays or games.
Encouraging free play, outdoor exploration and involvement in activities or games are the best ways to get your children to be physically active.