Exercise for kids-Why do kids need to exercise? Are there fun, good easy or simple exercises for children that will make the whole process of working out exciting or enjoyable?What is the best exercise for kids? Read on to find out. Also, learn more on exercise routines or programs for kids, tips, ideas and facts
Exercise Facts for Kids- Why Exercising for Kids?
Why do kids or children need to exercise? Why do parents or caregivers need to encourage kids to work out? What are the facts benefits for exercising kids?
Taking care of kids involves a host of related aspects of their lives that parents and caregivers should cater for. Various arguments and perceptions exist that attempt to respond to the question ‘why exercise for kids?’ Most children today are facing weight management challenges because of the lifestyle changes that have happened in the society. Obesity and overweight scenarios are on the rise. To address this challenge, children should involve themselves in various activities which sum up as exercises
Other than managing weight, here more are reasons and facts why exercising for kids is important.
- Exercising regularly promotes overall health and averts or slows down the buildup of numerous chronic ailments or diseases for example heart disease and diabetes
- Exercise makes you strong and flexible- exercising on a frequent basis will aid in building and keeping your bones, joints and muscles strong. You will not get tired easily.
- Studies have established that a good amount of physical activity can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep
- Children who exercise possess greater confidence and they portray improved self-image
- Exercise aids in the development of important interpersonal skills—this is especially true for participation in team sports.
- Exercise improves the quantity and quality of sleep.
- Research shows that exercise promotes improved school attendance and enhances academic performance.
- Exercise improves your mood and makes you feel happy. Kids who engage in exercises are less likely to show symptoms of depression and anxiety. This applies not only to kids but also adults.
- Regular physical activity has also been shown to improve the growth of a number of motor skills related to performance. Other than improving growth, exercise also enhances motor coordination
Fun Exercises for Kids
To build enjoyment among the kids who are exercising, the use of games as forms of exercises is preferred. They may be just for fun or can also involve having competitive games. At a tender age, kids are not aggressive. They seek engagement and substantial attention. Games such as hula – hoops serve to engage kids abdominal muscles while at the same time they find fun in keeping the loop balanced on their waists.
Trampoline is another fun exercise, which equates to kids engaging in and enjoying a game. For young kids, the physical engagement is not as tiring as running would be but the effect of jumping on a trampoline has similar benefits. According to Beth Wilkinson, jumping on a trampoline is vital to a child’s mental and physical development. It improves balance and coordination. At the same time is it a fun and almost effortless fun exercise.
Exercise or balance balls are also fun to engage and use in their regular play. While kids are flexible in nature, they use the balls to improve their posture, build their muscles and have fun. Varying activities that can be undertaken using the ball as a tool for it serve as play and fun for kids at the same time.
For more, here is a list of fun exercises for kids;
- Hoop dancing
- Yoga for kids
- Rope jumping
While exercises require the caregiver to be creative in guiding the kids with the activities, use of tools and play materials creatively also further enjoyment and fun. Irrespective of the exercise, kids can have fun dependent on the creativity of the caregiver.
Good and Easy/Simple Exercises for Kids
There are various good and easy exercises for kids that every individual who takes care of them should seek to know and observe.
When making or evaluating the type of exercises that kids should be involved in, it is important to observe some key facts that relate to their handling of the exercises. At a minimum, the exercises should be easy to undertake. Children, being playful get bored easily with those activities that seem to be too repetitive and take long durations of time to realize results. To come up with good and easy exercises for kids, the caregivers and parents need to observe a number of facts.
Based on the age of the child, there are limits, which need to be observed to ensure the exercises that the child engages in are in tandem with their ability.
Babies for instance do not have the energy to undertake rigorous exercises. However, easy or simple exercises for kids within this age bracket would involve easy and basic actions such as being able to push and pull. Grasping their play objects or other safe materials, moving their body along, palm folding among others. While some of these are simple exercise for children, some may need the indulgence of the caregiver or the parent to aid the child in starting them. Some would be unconscious exercises such as pushing and pulling but where deliberate, movement should be gentle to avoid straining on the child’s part.
Toddlers generally, though not muscular are more resilient than babies are. For them, environment based exercises can greatly improve their well-being. Water based exercise as well as floor based exercises are simple exercises for kids in this group. Following are lists of both water and floor based exercises for kids, babies and toddlers
Simple and Good Water-based Exercises
- Jump water
- Backyard bath- can be done in the kids pool, bubbles or bath toys
- Water-gun tag
- Pool ping-pong
Good and Easy Floor-based Exercises
- Ball play
- Color snap
- Shoes-practicing taking off and putting on shoes
Children who are under five years of age are generally physically active within the day. Both babies and toddlers too lie within this bracket. They are supposed to spend a substantial amount of time undertaking light activities. This includes moving around, running between short distances, walking around at a slow pace, standing up as well as less energetic play. It should be noted that for good exercises for kids at this age should not be physical strenuous since the child’s muscles and ligaments are still developing. An exercise such as standing up to an adult may seem like an obvious ability. However, to a child it includes developing the child’s ability to balance unsupported, their leg’s ability to support them and at the same time the question of how long can they remain standing on their own.
Energetic physical activities is another set of good exercises for kids within the under-five year’s bracket. These are exercises, which mainly comprise of active play. In most cases, they involve more than one child, as some of the games are collaborative. For instance, hide and seek is a form of active play and cannot be undertaken alone. Riding a bicycle serves as another form of energetic physical activity that kids can engage in. These exercises should be undertaken in moderation to avoid extreme fatigue. Skipping rope, swimming, climbing and dancing are also possible exercises that they can also engage in. To gain the most from these forms of exercises, there should be a variance in terms of both indoor and outdoor exercises. This gives a chance for them to be organized where possible. Kids can undertake exercises such as gymnastics in both an organized and competitive way. In the end, the children get to exercise, compete and at the same time learn.
It is worthwhile to note that the exercise that the kids engage in should be spread out within the day and not scheduled to happen only at a particular time. This is more so for the babies since they may not yet have developed the concept of time. However, for kids who are able to walk unaided, some of the exercises that they engage in can be scheduled as exercise routines. For instance, swimming can be designated to be undertaken on particular days and time as long as the weather conditions permit.
Exercise Routines/ Programs for Kids-Tips & Ideas
An exercise routine serves to act as a guide or program, which outlines the activities to be undertaken at a particular time and for a given duration of time. It stipulates the specifics and instructions that need to be observed when engaging in an exercise. In most cases, it is in accordance to normal calendar days and generally serves to guide the caretaker on what to engage the children in.
Most parents and caregivers want the best for the kids under their care and subsequently struggle to establish what is the best exercise for the kids under their care. They fail to identify that kids too have preferences, which the caregiver should respect. However, the exercise settled upon should, at a minimum be age appropriate, matching the child’s ability, easy and fun to engage in. Typically, since the kid’s ability will be improving as they grow, then the exercise of choice should equally change to match up to the ability of the kid. For instance, a toddler can engage in reaching and grasping small objects but a 5 year old may have outgrown that. To disambiguate kids exercising : tips, ideas and best exercises, the Chief Medical report (2011) on the physical activity guidelines for early years, identify that floor based play and water – based activities can be encouraged but safety has to be given priority. The amount of time that the child spend being restrained should be minimized but the only exception to this is when the children are sleeping.
As an exercise fact for kids, it is important to note that each child is unique. As such, focus should be given to ensure that before an exercise is picked, the mental capabilities as well as the physical capabilities of the kids are put into perspective. The exercises that the children engage in would later act as support or a basis for their choice of games they engage in their latter life. There are various benefits that add to the exercise facts for kids. This transcends beyond building their muscles, improving their dexterity, acting as a catalyst for metal development to other associated health benefits like improving their metabolism rate.
In creating an exercise program/ routine for kids, the set of activities to be undertaken are to be put in perspective first. The duration taken for each should be determined more so dependent on the kid’s endurance capacity. Additionally, the pacing of the exercises should be considered. For instance, how much time does one exercise take to complete, how involving is it ? What exercise should follow it e.g. if one was increasing the heart rate rapidly, the next should reduce it to lead to a balanced workout.
Preparing a workout calendar comes in handy in getting the consistency needed when preparing an exercise program/ routine for kids. It should be laid out in a simple way with all the targeted exercises balanced in a way to achieve the targeted exercise impact. Children should also get rest. The workout calendar should consider the right times to exercise in a day. Each exercise session should be inclusive of a warm up duration, a core exercising session and a cool down duration. In addition, where there is need to have cool downs in between the routines, they should also be included in the calendar.
Those kids who are able to follow an exercise calendar on their own should be guided first on how to observe time, how to start the exercises and also how to mark that they have had a given session to completion. However, most parents and caregivers generally prefer to always have an instructor guiding the children so that they can handle any cases of an emergency that may come up.
To add value and benefits to the exercises that the kids undertake, rest should also be included in the exercises program. A kid who is learning how to balance, for instance and walk without support spends a lot of time trying it. At that age, this is considered a strenuous activity for them. As such, they should be permitted to take rest in between their exercises and also after, they have completed them. Sleep is considered as rest too but this is naturally occurring. Ideally, rest needs to be purposefully factored in.
Best Exercises for Kids
So ,what is the best exercise for kids. From the information above, you have already learnt that there is no exact exercise that can be said to be the best. Why? In the first place it depends on factors like and physical strength. All that is needed is to be creative so as to make the whole activity fun and interesting. However, any form of physical activity is very important not only for kids but also adults. According to WHO, not exercising or being physically inactive has been identified as the number four chief risk factor for universal mortality. In estimation, physical inactivity is has caused 3.2 million deaths globally. Keep on exercising…
Suggested Further Reading on Kids’ Fitness
- Warm up Exercises for Kids- Stretching, Fun, Before Workout & Cool Downs
- Core Strengthening, Indoor, Abs & Lose Weight Exercises for Kids
- Exercise Equipment for Kids- Pull up Bar, Exercise Balls & Treadmills