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Fitness for Kids

June 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I’m doing my best to get and stay fit. As a Mom of two kids though I’m now tasked with ensuring my kids stay fit. They are too little to really have any worries yet and are quite the active ones, but physical fitness is important for children just as it is for adults. According to Fitness.gov, children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day. Although most of the 60 minutes per day can be moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, at least three days per week should include vigorous-intensity physical activity, muscle strengthening and bone-strengthening.

The good news is that most kids are drawn to physical activity by nature. Playing sports, running around the block, and playing tag all seem to be second nature for children.  Still, not every child has the same interests. Some children may not enjoy spending time outdoors, playing sports or going for a walk. Some children rather sing or participate in arts and crafts. Regardless of personal interests, however, it is important to encourage all kids to participate in physical activity.

According to Fitness.gov, the key is to introduce physical activities that are “appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.” Here are a few ideas to consider for children.

Aerobic activities: Aerobic activities increase cardio-respiratory fitness and typically move large muscles in the body. While your child may not enjoy running a mile, he or she may prefer dancing, jumping rope, or bicycling. Plan a family dance night or a weekend bicycling trip. Other creative aerobic ideas for kids include hopping, skipping, swimming and running.

Muscle-strengthening activities: In order to strengthen muscles, your child needs to do more work than usual during activities. Instead of traditional muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights or working with resistance bands, allow your kids to climb trees, play tug-of-war or play on playground equipment (with supervision, of course).

Bone-strengthening activities: This type of activity can only be accomplished by impact with the ground.  To promote bone growth and strength, encourage your child to run, jump rope, play basketball, tennis, and hopscotch.

I’m now off to the park with my kids! What are some creative physical exercise ideas you’ve introduced to the kids in your life?