Over the years, it has been identified that exercises play a pivotal role in aiding kids grow and develop. Medical practitioners as well as fitness experts attribute many health benefits and avoidance of health risks to good exercise. To make this habitual, exercise routines for kids are developed in order to guide them and their caregivers on what needs to be done, when and how. There are varying types of exercises that are taken up by caregivers. Most of them lie within the warm up exercises for kid’s category, strength and core exercises as well as the indoor exercises category.
General Strength Exercises for Kids
Kids need a strong body to be able to engage in their day-to-day activities. There are various general strength exercises for kids that when utilized and routinely undertaken, the kid improves in terms of gaining strength. These exercises broadly fall under the category for strength training.
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, such training may include the moderate use of weights or elastic tubing. It is noteworthy that the weights used in this case are lightweights and those that correspond to a child’s ability.Safety is key in using weights as the child should not injure their muscles or tear their ligaments.
The kids own body weight can also be used to meet the strength training need. It is important to note that irrespective of the equipment that may be used, the kids’ age and ability comes into play in making this determination.
The exercises that are resistance based are also varied based on the goals laid out by the instructor. To gain strength, continuous and routine exercises are undertaken and serve to increase the kid’s ability to exert or resist force.
Before enrolling in a general strength training routine, a parent or caregiver should make a point to get a medical evaluation of the child. This gives them a chance to evaluate the risk factors, discuss the child’s health, medical condition, and previous injuries if any and this would be a key guide on what specific exercise they can undertake or what they cannot undertake.
The location of taking up general strength exercise for kids varies dependent on the resource availability and the prevailing weather conditions. The specific exercises can be included in the routine indoor exercises for kids where facilities are available indoors and the weather prevailing is not the most optimal.
Core strengthening exercises for kids
Core strengthening exercises for kids is another area that instructors and or trainers can focus on. Such form of exercises emphasize the strengthening of the core and focuses on the trunk muscles such as the abdominal muscles, lower back, and gluteal muscles.
While engaging in core strengthening exercises, there is the theoretical premise that some sports specific skills can be gained as well as postural control. Among these exercises, include;
Wheelbarrow walking where one child holds another’s legs up to the level where their abdomen is lifted off the ground. The lifted child attempts to make movement with the hands thereby straining the abdomen to support their weight. Typically, the child walks a few steps on a non-abrasive floor.
Plank is another form of core strengthening exercise where the child lay on the floor with their stomach facing down. The kid attempts to lift their whole body with their hands at shoulder level and toes touching the ground.
Bridging is also used to meet the core-strengthening goal. To undertake it, the kid lay on their back and ensure that their heels are bent and flat on the floor. Their hands should be folded away from the body to act as a rest for their head. The child will then attempt to push through their heels and raise their body and where possible hold on that for some duration. It is ideal to have a constant count to aid the child focus on holding their posture. In this exercise, the head and arms and the should be kept down. Other more formal exercises that also lead to core strengthening include swimming, crab walking, snake curls and swinging.
Abs exercises for kids
Abs exercises for kids should not be too intensive but rather, they should be paced in a way to meet the child’s age and ability. In addition to this, the abdominal exercises are included in the routine at a frequency of two – three times per week. The importance of the abdominal exercises is to develop the size and the shape of the abdominal muscles. Following the recommendations of the American college of Sports Medicine’s Health and fitness Journal, the type of exercises chosen for this role impact on the shaping and sizing of the muscles in the abdomen.
Among the abs exercises for kids includes Planks. This is a form of abdominal exercises in which a child lies down on their stomach. Their legs and arms are extended to the sides then they move their hands / palm to the shoulder level. When done, they attempt to raise their body weight off the ground with their back straightened. They proceed to push up and down in this posture until they feel fatigued.
Leg raises is another abs exercise for kids. This exercise requires the kid to lay down on a floor or bench with their back flat. While in this posture, they are required to extend their legs up from the ground repeatedly. When doing this, they function to tighten their abdominal muscles. The legs should be held up in the air for a while before moving them down and repeating the same.
Exercises for kids to lose weight
Where focus is laid on exercises for kids to lose weight, there are other considerations that may have to be given priority. According to Daniel Nicholas, kids have significantly higher metabolism rates. They therefore are able to burn calories in their bodies at a much faster rate as compared to adults. The diet that the child takes has an impact. It is recommended that they take foods with less calories in their diet as a fist step. Having a metabolic rate calculator could further aid in determining the best personal basal metabolic rate. In most cases, exercises for kids to lose weight go hand in hand with abs exercises for kids. They both increase the focus on cardiovascular exercises, changes in diet as well as direct abdominal workout. However, where the goal is to focus on abs, more emphasis is laid on the direct abdominal workouts.
The exercise routine should be created to feature cardiovascular exercises for at least three times within a week. Such exercises will focus on burning fat on the stomach directly thus making the metabolism rate higher. The duration of the exercises is normally extended to increase the heart rate as well as to create endurance.
Cycling is one for of routine exercise that kids can utilize to lose weight. It can be included as a routine during working out or as a part of their day-to-day activities such as going to cycling to school. Vertical leg crunch exercises and reverse crunch exercises when included in the routine also serve the need. They are to be taken in form of two complete sets per round with some rest in between.
Exercises for kids to lose weight are not ideally distinct from the above since, with dietary control, these forms of exercise lead to loss of weight in kids. However, as we earlier noted, a medical practitioner’s advice should be followed in determining the best kind of combinations to include in the routine so as not to negatively harm the child’s development and growth. Swimming is one form of exercise which can aid the child lose weight. This should be done with the guidance of a swimming coach. Depending on the stroke, varying muscles are involved. The whole body is involved with to keep afloat and move on the water. Hands are used to pave way and generate movement, as this happens, they serve to fight the water resistance and forge the body forward. This in the end exercises the entire body and when combined with good dietary habits, it results in weight loss. Though swimming can be under taken as a competitive game, it is also beneficial in while undertaking these exercises, safety and rest ought to be given priority.
To leverage benefits and enhance safety when undertaking these forms of exercises, they should be done slowly with a lot of control. Similarly, just like other forms of exercises, it is important to seek medical evaluation and advise before a child is made to engage in these exercises so as to be aware of the potential risks, the child’s abilities and mitigation measures should an emergency arise.
Fun Indoor Exercises for Kids-Games and Activities
Both general strength and core strengthening exercises can be undertaken as indoor exercises for kids as they require a safe surface that does not cause discomfort during its undertaking. Below is video showing some more fun indoor exercises for children. In the video, the instructor is incorporating fun by aping some animal movements. These workouts, just like the aforementioned exercises, will make the kids to jump, balance, push, dance, pull, play, stretch etc. which will finally have some of the following benefits;
- Improve fresh blood circulation into kids’ muscles.
- Loosen limbs while making them more flexible,
- Improve alertness in the kids’ brains.
- Make the children rip a little
Suggested Further Reading on Kids’ Fitness/ Exercisec
- Warm up Exercises for Kids- Stretching, Fun, Before Workout & Cool Downs
- Exercise for Kids- Fun, Good, Easy Exercises for Kids: Facts, Best Exercise Routines/programs
- Exercise Equipment for Kids- Pull up Bar, Exercise Balls & Treadmills