Training for Kids : Starting Them Early on a Path to Fitness!
Have you ever stopped to think about training for kids ? Many adults consider training as a way to attain or maintain fitness and overall wellness. But few consider including their children in their healthy and active lifestyle.
Unfortunately, in our current culture, kids are not as active as they have traditionally been in past generations. In some cases, video games and technology have surpassed outside activities. In other areas, safety concerns make parents want to keep the kids close to home. Regardless of the reason, though, kids still need physical activity! Here, I’d like to discuss some ways to incorporate kids into the parents’ wellness routines.
Benefits of training for kids
While anyone can benefit from exercise, kids’ growing bodies have some specific benefits to gain. Here are just a few:
- Stronger muscles and bones. In addition to calcium and vitamin D, exercise can help improve kids’ muscles and bones. Both muscles and bones improve in strength the more they are used. Particularly activities that include some form of impact can help kids grow strong and healthy bones and muscles. This is the type of thing that helps kids form a strong foundation for lifelong wellness!
- Less chance of being overweight. As mentioned earlier, kids today tend to be less active. Unfortunately, this has a big effect on their waistlines. More kids are overweight or obese than ever before. Actually, it is estimated that up to one in five kids is obese in the United States. When kids are obese, they have much higher chances of becoming obese adults. Starting a good exercise routine at a young age is a powerful way to prevent the occurrence of obesity in kids!
- Less screen time. Many a parent bemoans the fact that their kids are constantly in front of a screen, whether it’s video games, the TV, or the iPad. While technology has many benefits, it also has some negative points for kids. Not only does it keep them from being active, but it can also prevent them from interacting with family and friends in a quality way. Training for kids means that they’ll spend less time away from screens and more time interacting with the world.
- A better attitude. As an adult, you’ve probably noticed the mental health benefits of exercise. You feel more mental clarity, and probably gain a much better overall attitude. Guess what? These benefits aren’t just for adults. Kids, too, will experience these positive effects, which means that they can tend to have a better overall attitude. A fit family is a happy family!
- Better connection. This may not be a direct benefit of the physical activity itself, but it’s a powerful overall benefit. When you’re training with kids and engaging in physical activity with them, it fosters a deeper sense of connection. Whether you’re a dad jogging with his teenager or a mom taking yoga with her toddler, training with kids can help you connect in a positive and impactful way.
Workouts for kids
Now that we’ve established some of the many benefits of training for kids, let’s talk about how to get them moving. Here are some examples of great ways to get kids involved in physical activity.
Aerobic activities. Aerobic activities of all sorts are beneficial for kids, and as an added bonus, they can be fun and social. Curious about what aerobic activities that can be easily done with kids? Running/jogging, dancing, canoeing/kayaking, and biking are just a few examples. Games, too, like tag or marco polo can be fun ways to incorporate aerobic activity!
Sports. Whether they’re youth leagues or games at home, sports are an incredible way for kids to get active and gain some good socialization points. Some popular sports for kids include soccer, gymnastics, basketball, softball, and hockey.
Stretching / yoga. Lower impact physical activities like yoga and stretching can be excellent for kids as part of a training routine. They can help kids build flexibility and endurance, and have the added benefit of calming the mind.
Walking/hiking. Yes, walking can be a great way to help kids get into a training routine! Particularly if a kid has been inactive, including activities like walking to the store instead of driving can be a great start for a wellness routine. It can be good motivation for the parents to get moving too! Nature hikes, too, can be a great way for the whole family to get moving.
Weight lifting or CrossFit. Can kids lift weights? According to the American Council of Exercise, yes! Per their website, “children can begin to train with weights as soon as they are able to accept and follow directions—usually around the age of seven or eight.” Kids are natural weightlifters, just watch them lift a heavy rock at a park, the key is just providing a safe environment. Many CrossFit Kids programs teach proper movement in the form of games, with a premium placed on safety and or course, having FUN!
Martial Arts. Martial Arts as a form of training for kids has been gaining popularity ever since the classic 1984 film Karate Kid. The biggest appeal here is much more than just the physical activity that kids get. Most parents sign their kids up for martial arts for higher minded purposes such as discipline, perseverance and self-esteem. Another huge appeal for parents is that martial arts are the best way to prevent your kid from being bullied. Karate and Tae-Kwon-Do have been popular for years but kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is quickly gaining popularity and may take over soon as the #1 martial art offered in the states.
Training for kids can be a great way to establish a lifelong wellness routine. It can also be a great way to bring the family together in a positive way. The final word? Consider establishing a fitness routine for the whole family to maintain motivation and increase health!
Do your kids even work out?