Getting active as a family is not only a great way to spend time together, it can lay the foundation for a lifetime love of fitness for your kids. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition reports that only one in three children participate in enough physical activity each day and less than 5% of adults meet the physical activity recommendations every day. Parents and kids can improve these statistics by working out together.
Take a look at these exercises to do with your little ones (ideal ages 10 and under).
Funky Freeze Dance
Just as music can help your kids study, it can also get their brains stimulated for exercise. Crank up the tunes and just let loose. Pick a variety of upbeat and slow music and have family members take turns playing DJ. Encourage your kids to dance hard when the music is playing and to freeze in place when it pauses. Let your kids help pick out the playlist for the game, or even consider having themed freeze dance parties based on decades or genres of music. Children ages 10 and younger will like this fitness activity the most – even babies will enjoy wiggling to the beat.
Have your kids try to push you off balance by planting your feet firmly in place. Decide on the rules: is climbing allowed? What body parts are off limits? The goal is not for the kids to knock you over; it’s for them to get you to budge from your position. For kids younger than 5, try standing on one leg to make it a little easier. Children 8 and younger will enjoy this activity the most.
Have family members lay flat on their stomachs on the floor, and then push away from the floor until arms are fully extended, feet on the ground. Pull abdominal muscles in tightly and keep arms strong. Challenge each other to hold the plank position for 10, 20, and then 30 seconds at a time. Repeat 3 times for kids 5 and under and then add more repetition for kids who are older. You could treat this as a form of freeze dance, too! All you need are some tunes.
Combine cardio and strength training in a way that is fun for your kids, and increase the difficulty based on their ages. If you own a cardio machine like a treadmill or stationary bike, incorporate it as one of the “circuits.” Find household items to lift as weights (safely), and include circuits for sit-ups, pushups, jumping jacks, or even yoga poses. Find ways to use your household space – either inside or outdoors –for fitness activities. Each circuit should last 1 or 2 minutes, based on your kids’ ages. Kids ages 8 and up will benefit most from this fitness activity, due to the concentration and ability to switch tasks needed.
Parents spend a lot of time teaching their kids how to behave nicely and quietly, but how about letting it all out for the sake of fitness? Set up a safe space either in your home or outside and let your kids (and you) go crazy: scream, flail, kick, and yell to your hearts’ content. This is an especially smart way to allow kids to release energy safely. Kids 6 and under will likely enjoy this activity the most.
Help your kids develop solid core muscles with this easy-to-do classic. Have family members lay flat on their backs and lift their feet just slightly off the ground. From there, flutter legs a few inches up and down, keeping them completely off the ground, and feel the burn in the tummy area. Children age 4 and up can easily do this activity.
These are just a handful of the kid-friendly exercises you can do at home that cost nothing but time. Ask your kids for even more suggestions on getting fit together to make the entire family part of the fitness process.