Young & Fit

Cultivate the habit of staying active among children with these fitness routines

Many might wonder if it’s appropriate for children to start working out. It may not be wrong to have such thoughts and truth to be told, exercising at a young age can benefit children in the long run. 

This is because, encouraging children to exercise at a young age and on a regular basis will enable them to continue doing so as they grow older. Along with that, this will help their body develop muscles that will keep them fit, maintain clean eating habits at a younger age, develop motor skills such as sitting, standing, kicking, running, jumping and lifting as well as balance and coordination.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that children and adolescents from the age of six to 17 should get at least an hour of moderate aerobic workout everyday and not forgetting strength training activities for about 60 minutes, three days a week. 

This may seem a lot, but it is never too late to encourage your little ones to love physical activities, especially when there are many ways of exposing them to enjoy some fun fitness activities.

Here are some interesting approaches to help you choose the appropriate fitness activities according to your children’s age.

AGES 3 TO 6

Children of this age group are normally active as they tend to run around even if it is at home. Physical activities are recommended as it can help improve bone health and lead them to maintain a healthy weight as they grow.

If you have preschoolers at home, provide them with active toys or engage them in activities such as:

  • Soccer         
  • Riding tricycle
  • Basketball     
  • Jumping on trampolines
  • Swimming 
  • Catching and throwing of balls

Swimming is also a great way to keep your child active. Plus it is totally fine to introduce children to water between the age of six months to three years old. If you’re afraid of water, do not put that pressure on your kids too. Allow them to decide if they like swimming or would like to try out for some other activity.

You can easily send your children to swimming classes and provide them with the opportunity to explore their interest before formally starting swimming lessons. As they grow older they can continue with their favourite exercise by improvising it here and there.

AGES 7 TO 11

By the age of seven, children are actively getting their feet up and above the ground and pretty much doing things that they’re interested in. Now would be the perfect time to expose children to fitness-related activities. 

To get children of this age group to do something, then the significant way to do so is by emphasising fun. If you’re planning to introduce a sport that you find your child will enjoy, then try to find a way to make the sport sound fun and exciting. Plus, grab their attention by letting them know you would love to participate too. Children love it when they have their parents’ attention. The more they love the activity, the more likely they will want to continue it. 

Some of the sports you can consider doing includes:

  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Jogging
  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Hiking
  • Ballet or other forms of dance
  • Martial arts

AGE 12 AND ABOVE

Once your child has reached puberty, you may introduce workouts that involve weights if you’re comfortable with this method of exercising and after you receive the green light from your child’s paediatrician. If you’re capable of teaching your children the correct method of lifting weights, then that would be great. However, if you’re unsure, there are weight-training classes that would do the job for you.

Moveover, if your high schoolers participate in endurance events organised by their schools such as marathons, then there’s no reason to go against it. Instead, support them as this would be a great benefit in building up their muscles.

Encourage your child to begin and end each workout session with a few light aerobic activities to warm and prepare their muscles before starting their vigorous activities. Some simple warming up would do the trick like walking, jogging in place or jumping rope. Gentle stretching after each session is also advisable.

Proper training is just as important for children, adolescents and teenagers just as it is important for their parents and grandparents too. On a side note, do keep an eye on their nutrition and hydration intake and learn to recognise the signs of exerting themselves.

ENCOURAGE, DON’T FORCE

As parents, your role in getting your children involved in sports is to make them have fun but more importantly, stay fit and healthy. Do not put any expectations on your child or push them to practice repetitively. They are young and do not need to be great at all the sports or activities they try out. Your number one goal should be to ensure they have fun while exercising or playing any sports. When it stops being fun, they are unlikely to continue pursuing it and will start showing signs of disinterest. You want sports to be a part of their life not only as children, but when they’re adults too. 

Sources: Verywell Mind, MayoClinic, Kidshealth, Healthline