According to official CDC recommendations, kids and teens should get at least one hour of physical activity per day. In addition to individual and team sports, a regular routine of quick exercises that can be done daily at home will help contribute to your kids’ overall health.
Staying active boosts mental health, helps ward off childhood obesity, and can even increase academic performance. Regular exercise builds balance, coordination, and muscle strength.
- Running – Younger kids naturally engage in plenty of running during playground games like tag. Older kids and teens may enjoy a daily jog around the neighborhood, relay races, or more complex games like Capture the Flag. Running in place is another option for rainy days and times when indoor exercise is the only choice.
- Jumping – Whether they use a jump rope, trampoline, or a pogo stick, kids have been participating in jumping games and exercises for generations. Jumping jacks are another fun option to engage kids of all ages in a regular jumping routine. Older kids and teens may really enjoy doing sets of box jumps.
- Cycling – Kids of all ages enjoy riding their bikes around the neighborhood. Cycling helps build endurance and increase muscle strength. Older kids and teens can also use an exercise bike at home or at a local gym to take their workout to the next level.
- Bear Crawls – This full-body exercise is a great way to get younger kids engaged in both physical activity and imaginative play. Bear crawls target both upper and lower body muscles. Kids start on all fours with all their hands and feet on the ground, their arms shoulder-width apart, and their hips elevated. Kids then move forward, alternating the right hand and left foot with the left hand and right foot.
- Crab Walks – Similarly, crab walks help kids build up their muscle strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. Kids start from a sitting position with both feet flat on the floor and their hands flat behind their backs. The hips are then lifted off the floor as kids move forward and backward, pretending to be crabs. Crab walk races are another way to keep older kids engaged with this exercise.
- Squats – Squats are one of the most popular exercises for all age groups. Squats help improve the lower body muscles, including the hamstrings and calves. Lunges are often incorporated into a squatting routine as well, since they target the same muscle groups.
- Superman – Kids lay face down on the floor with their arms stretched forward, lifting their arms and legs off the ground simultaneously, giving the appearance of a superhero flying. This exercise targets the abdominal and back muscles.
- Planks – Likewise, planks help strengthen the core muscles situated throughout the abdomen, back, and hips. To begin, kids lie flat on their stomachs with their forearms on the ground at shoulder width. Then the body is slowly lifted with only the tips of the toes and the forearms remaining on the ground, and the position is held for several repetitions of 30 seconds or more.
- Push-Ups – Push-ups target several muscle groups at once, including the arms, legs, chest, core, and hips. When engaging in push-ups, all of the weight should be supported by the hands and feet, and the pushing strength should come from the chest and shoulders. Kids should engage in repetitions of several push-ups daily and challenge themselves to do more push-ups in a shorter amount of time.
- Sit-Ups – Similarly, sit-ups engage the core and help kids develop muscle strength through repetitive movements over time. Crunches are another option that is similar to sit-ups but involves lifting just the upper back.
Don’t forget to encourage your kids to drink plenty of water and participate in both warm-up and cool-down activities to help their bodies regulate during periods of physical activity.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health and fitness, give us a call today to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly board-certified pediatricians in Arvada.