At-Home Exercising With Your Kids
By: Stephanie Ruopp
If getting your kids motivated to exercise before the pandemic was tough, it’s likely only gotten even more difficult.
Or has it?
The past nine months has seen schools and even parks close, the cancellation of sporting events, and a definite increase in sitting in front of technology as kids settle in for at-home learning.
Even so, as a parent you may have – out of necessity – come up with creative and clever ways to encourage at-home exercising with your kids.
And chances are, if you’re serious about exercise, it will make your kids more serious as well.
At-Home Exercising With Your Kids Isn’t Always Easy
If your kids are young, there has to be a little bit of a game involved with getting them to start moving. Otherwise, they could quickly get bored with conventional exercise.
And if they’re older, pulling them away from their devices could be the biggest challenge.
Exercise is essential though. It boosts self-esteem, improves mood and sleep, and makes you and your child less prone to the negative impact of stress and depression. And there’s plenty of that for most of us these days!
Plus, regular exercise now will reduce the likelihood of becoming over- weight and developing diabetes, as well as lower the risk of heart disease and cancer in the long-term. So it’s crucial to cultivate an appreciation (and even love) of exercise in your children so they can carry this into adulthood. Because the reality is, inactive kids tend to become inactive adults.
So How Do You Increase Physical Activity at Home?
First, you need to set a goal. Discuss with your child the benefits of physical activity and then work on a goal together they’d like to achieve. For example, maybe you challenge them to start one day by doing ten jumping jacks. The next day it may be twenty. Eventually, they may work their way to 50.
Remember that kids have a shorter attention span than you do. So for as much you might love doing a Tabata workout with bands and weights, they may give up quickly when they get bored. So stick with variety.
As we mentioned above, creativity is key. For example, your child would certainly benefit from doing squats. But what six-year-old wants to do squats?! Yet, if you turn them into “chickens laying eggs,” they’re much more likely to stay engaged. And if you do the movement with them, you’re getting your squats in as well.
For older kids, you might create a circuit of stations that offer a variety of different workout challenges. Station 1 could be push-ups, station 2 might be mountain-climbers, and Station 3 might be all about bicep curls.
Hang up a chart that checks of daily goals and shows their progress. They like to see that what they’re doing matters.
And don’t forget about online resources. There are a wide range of family friendly and age-appropriate exercise options available with just a little searching.
Just remember, the more you choose to exercise with your kids, the more likely they are to engage in the activity. So look for online sources that encourage parent and child to workout together.
Any Movement Is Good Movement
Your child doesn’t need to be doing a strict and structured workout to get the benefits of physical exercise. Again, you want them to have fun while moving so that they don’t get discouraged or turned off by exercise.
While riding bikes or playing in the park are great ways to motivate your child to move, if you live in a colder climate, they may not be ideal or even possible as snow and ice become the norm. But don’t worry!
Keep in mind that any way that your kids are moving is positive. If they have chores, make them interesting. Challenge them to beat a timer when cleaning up their rooms. Or ask them if they can hold a plank pose for the amount of time they’re microwaving their lunch.
For younger children, blow up a balloon and challenge them to keep it in the air. Or stretch out tape on the floor and make a hopscotch grid.
If you’re a yoga or Pilates enthusiast, take advantage of some of the postures named for animals (such as “cobra” or “bird dog”) to start piquing their interest in these wonderful practices that are both good for the body and the mind.
Finally, carve out some time each week to put on their favorite music, take a break from your Zoom meetings, and just dance around your living room with them with reckless abandon. It’ll get their heart rate up, while reducing your stress levels. And you’ll all just have a lot of fun.
How much can you say that about these days?
We Will Get Back to “Normal”
2020 has been a phenomenally tough year for a lot of us. And that includes your kids.
So lower their stress levels (and yours as well!) by engaging in some at- home exercising with your kids. Remember, 2021 is just around the corner.
And if you’re currently looking for private or individualized training in Pilates or GYROTONIC (and some special time away from the kids) call us today! It’s important to keep on caring for yourself too.