Kids fitness – instilling good habits early

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Indoor climbing wall, childrens holiday activities, birthday parties

Why the interest in kids fitness?

There are so many reasons why kids fitness is so important. The most obvious reason is the obesity crisis that is currently afflicting the whole of the first world. Less active lifestyles, more temptations to stay glued to a screen for large parts of the day, concerns for safety, high fat and high sugar diets – the reasons for childhood obesity are many, but the answers are simple.

As adults, we know how great we feel when we have done a workout or played a game of sport. We also know how much better we feel both physically and within ourselves when we have been active. That is something that we should be sharing with our children through some form of kids fitness on a regular basis.

Children get some exercise through school but the one or two hours of formal physical education that a school lesson provides is nowhere near enough when it comes to kid’s fitness.

How much activity is enough?

The guidelines for activity are: one or more hours of moderate or vigorous physical activity on most days; several bouts of physical activity for 15 minutes or more every day; and avoid being inactive for longer than two hours, unless asleep.

It is a good idea to encourage your children to take up some form of organised sport through an after school club or a lunchtime club organised through the school or a junior section of a sports club.

You can also do activities at your local sports centre. At Kelsey Kerridge, we run numerous activities aimed at teaching children new skills and promoting kids fitness.

Different ages means different activities

It is important that you bear in mind your child’s age and level of physical development. At 6-8 years, children are developing basic skills such as jumping, throwing, kicking and catching. They can do activities that hone these skills through clubs or just in the garden or park with members of the family of friends. A family kick around with a football or a game of tag is a great way to get your kids active.

From 9-12 years, kids are refining, improving and coordinating skills. At this stage, some kids might take up competitive sport, while others will still be happy to play informal games. It is important to show children the range of possibilities. While school might offer just a limited range of sports, you can show them that it is possible to do climbing, karate, horse-riding, handball and a heap of other activities.

While much of a kid’s fitness requirements, until they reach their teens at least, can be informal play and running around with their friends, you may want to introduce some exercises into their daily routine.

The mini-me exercise routine

As children like to copy adults, doing a fitness session together is a great way to get your child into a good activity routine. Here are some basic fitness exercises that you and your children can do at home, together. But be aware, this will in no way replicate your own personal fitness training. Keep it simple, keep it short and make it fun otherwise you will turn your child off fitness for a long time!

Planking – put your elbows on the floor, raise up on the tips of your toes and make a straight line with your body from head to heels. Hold your body off the ground in that position for as long as you can. 30 seconds is impressive for a child.
Squats – place your feet shoulders’ width apart and do deep bends as if you are sitting on an invisible box. Straighten up to standing. Aim to do 20 of these.
Crunches – Sit-ups but not all the way from floor to knee. Curl your chest towards your knees, hold for a second and then relax your shoulders are back on the floor.
Lunges – stand with two feet together, take a step forwards with your left leg, bend your right leg so your knee touches the floor. Come back to two feet together and then repeat the move but leading with your right leg.
Mountain climbers – start in a push-up position, then alternate bringing one leg forward towards your armpit before extending it back. Repeat on the other side. Do the movements as quickly as you can, as if you are running on the floor.

For more ideas and discussion on kids fitness click on this article.