When most adults think about exercise, they imagine working out in the gym on a treadmill or lifting weights.
But for kids, exercise means playing and being physically active. Kids exercise when they have gym class at school, soccer practice, or dance class. They're also exercising when they're at recess, riding bikes, or playing tag.
The Many Benefits of Exercise
Kids who are active will:
* have stronger muscles and bones
* have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat
* be less likely to become overweight
* decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
* possibly lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
* have a better outlook on life
Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.
The Three Elements of Fitness:
If you've ever watched kids on a playground, you've seen the three elements of fitness in action when they:
1. run away from the kid who's "it" (endurance)
2. cross the monkey bars (strength)
3. bend down to tie their shoes (flexibility) Kids might also enjoy individual sports or other organized activities that can boost fitness
* Horseback riding
* Dance class
* Bicycling/tricycle riding
* Martial arts
* Yoga and other fitness classes
*Scooter board: propelling while on belly with your arms or in sit propelling with your feet
*Climbing and exploring the playground and it’s equipment (Climb up slide with supervision and safety, Hang on monkey bars)
*Trampoline (with safety nets and supervision)
* Simon Says game
*Zoom ball game (purchased at a toy store or 5 and below)
* Head shoulders Knees and Toes
* Walk like a penguin, hop like a frog, crawl like a bear, or imitate other animals' movements.
* Sit facing each other and hold hands. Rock back and forth and sing the song "Row, row, row your boat." (Core strengthening)
* Bend at the waist and touch the ground. Walk your hands forward and inch along like a caterpillar.
*Tape paper on the wall at standing height and draw or paint while standing up
* Let your child help in the garden ( dig holes, pick up and plant seeds, carry water and help pull weeds
* Have your child make a bridge by laying on his/her back and lifting up their bottoms off the ground to let trains/stuffed animals etc.. go under them making it a game
*Wheel barrel walking
*Crawling through tunnels
* Play follow the leader, "Ring around the rosy," , Races and other similar games incorporating jumping, marching, hopping, skipping, tall kneel walking, animal walking, etc.
* Listen to music and dance together.
* Playing games such as "Duck, Duck, Goose" or "Follow the Leader," “Red light/Green light” then mixing it up with jumping, hopping, and walking backward, galloping, skipping etc.
* Kicking a ball back and forth
* Hitting a ball off a T-ball stand, then running the bases
* Playing freeze dance or freeze tag
* Pretending to be statues to practice balancing
* Treasure hunt: Hide "treasures" throughout the house, up high and down in lower places encouraging tip toe and squats to find the clues
* Obstacle course: Set up an obstacle course with chairs, boxes, and tables for the kids to go over, under, through, and around.
* Soft-ball games: Use soft foam balls to play indoor basketball, bowling, soccer, or catch. You can even use balloons to play volleyball or catch.
*At the beach let your child walk/crawl/kneel in the sand, scoop sand with feet and make "sand angels", play in hte sand using shovels and pails
*Have your child carry a backpack to carry toys, snacks clothing etc. Have your child help carry the groceries.