Physical activities are important for any human being. Whether he or she is 5 years old or 50 years old, the key to staying fit and healthy is eating healthy and exercising regularly. Although many people have a wrong mindset where they think that exercising means going to the gym and trying out all the heavy load machines. But that conception is absolutely wrong. Even simple things like running, walking or swimming are considered to be exercises. Besides, you cannot really expect a child to lift up all the heavy weights in the gyms, right? So, what exercise for children should you encourage your kid to do on a daily basis? And how important is it for a child to exercise regularly?
According to many pediatricians over the world regular exercising has a plethora of benefits for children.
- Helps build stronger muscles, bones and joints.
- Increases flexibility and muscle strength.
- Improves the energy levels and helps to retain it for a long time.
- Helps in concentrating better at school.
Pediatricians also say that children, especially the ones between six to seventeen years of age should positively exercise regularly for a minimum of sixty minutes. So, if you have a child in this age period at home, you know why you should be pushing them to exercise and not just study or laze their days away.
Also, it is not necessary to perform complex and heavy exercises for everyone, or maybe in fact, for anyone. Simple exercises too have substantial benefits. Besides this, since simple exercises do not hurt much, the child also automatically gets interested in doing them. Now you know, how you can convince your child to exercise daily, right?
What All Exercise For Children Should You Encourage Your Child To Try?
Here, we have compiled a list of exercises that they can try out and what benefits they will receive from this. Read along!
We have all tried our hands at cycling when we were small, haven’t we? Also, to be very honest, we also loved cycling around the neighborhood and to unknown places with our group of friends. Oh! Those were the days.
Cycling is that one exercise that provides lots of benefits and your children are going to love it too. It is an easy workout for your child’s legs – thighs, calf muscles and ankles. Besides this, cycling will also help your child clear out all the uneasiness from their minds. As a result, they can concentrate better on their studies and can thus perform better. How does it clear out the mind must be your question. Well, cycling on congested roads doesn’t. But cycling along scenic routes surely does clear out the mind.
Benefits Of Cycling For Children
- Enhances the functioning and mobility of all the leg joints
- Shows a significant drop in the stress levels
- Helps to improve the cardiovascular system thus leading to improved cardiovascular fitness
- Increases the muscle strength of all of the lower body
Skipping is another exercise that we have all done in our childhood. While some of us knew it was an exercise, some of us just loved the essence of it (it made me feel like a kangaroo!).
But while you are asking your children to skip their way into fitness, there are also a few things that you need to look into.
- You should always choose the right rope – one that is neither too long nor too short.
- The ropes that you give them should have proper handles for a comfortable grip. The handles should not also be too heavy or too light.
- You might also need to keep changing the rope as your child grows. The rope that can be used by a seven year old might not be the correct one for a seventeen year old given the difference in the heights.
Benefits Of Skipping Exercise For Children
- Skipping regulates the heart rate of your child
- This exercise tones the upper body and the lower body muscles at the same time thus helping your child stay in shape
- Skipping also regulates balance, co-ordination, and also agility
- Practicing skipping regularly helps to prevent osteoporosis in the later ages
- Enhances weight loss and gives effective results within a short time
- Skipping is a fine workout for the whole body and helps to stay fit in all fronts
Running – A Great Aerobic Exercise For Children
Running is an amazing full body work out for both children and adults. While we adults go out separately for jogging, children do not need to do that. They anyway run around at the school playground, while returning home, when you tag them along to the shopping mall or even inside the house. But apart from this, you might also encourage them to chalk out an entirely different time period and practice their running skills.
Running also burns a lot of energy and helps the heart, lungs and entire body muscles function more efficiently. Besides, since it requires minimal equipment, neither do you invest a lot of money, nor does your child need to invest a lot of effort.
But before going out for a run, you must always make sure that your child does a few warm up exercises. For example, spot jumps, free hand exercises, arm swings etc. These help to relax the muscles and also cuts out chances of getting muscle strains and the likes.
Benefits Of Running For Children
- Running helps to maintain the body weight
- It cuts out all chances of gaining fats, especially in the most unwanted places like thighs and the belly
- Helps to boost your child’s self confidence
- Relieves your child of unnecessary stress
- Helps to achieve toned and stronger legs
- Helps to fight depression, anxiety and the likes
Planks – Strength Training Exercise For Children
If there has to be an ideal exercise for strengthening the core muscles of our body, then it is surely planks. It covers all the muscles including the abdomen, back, hips, and pelvis. Besides this, practicing planks daily also helps to improve the posture of your child and strengthens their lower back muscles.
In short, planks work on the whole body of your child and has a positive effect on almost each and every body part.
But while doing planks, it is also important to ensure that your child performs the correct posture. Doing or holding the incorrect posture for long can lead to strained muscles and extensive body pain. Also, start with practicing only a few planks per day. When you see that your child is capable enough in doing the alloted set, start increasing the number slowly. This will help them improve their strength and also their performance.
Benefits Of Doing Planks
- Reduces the chances of having back pain
- Helps to achieve a toned belly
- Improves the muscle flexibility of the whole body
- Enhances posture and balance
Push ups might be a tough thing to do for a child when he or she is just starting off, but if practiced regularly, it becomes easy. It is a very important calisthenics exercise. Push ups provide a complete body work out just like planks. Although, if seen carefully, it works essentially to increase the strength of your hands and your upper body. Besides this, it also works on several other muscle groups like the abdomen, hips and legs.
Similarly like planks, you need to make sure that your children are doing the push ups in the correct way. If not, they might end up straining their hips, legs and arms too.
Benefits Of Doing Push Ups For Children
- Enhances the functioning of the cardio-vascular system
- Prevents your children from having frequent lower back injuries while playing
- Improves the posture and body balance
- An effective exercise for working out all the body muscles
Crunches are a great exercise for improving the working of the joints of the whole body. Doing crunches regularly helps to improve the agility of your child. It also helps in their overall fitness, thus preventing them from diseases, injuries, etc and keeping them fitter than the other children and also in the long run.
Benefits Of Crunches
- Builds and enhances the core strength of your child
- Increases the flexibility of the torso
- Enhances the functioning of the abdominal muscles
This simple, easy and straightforward exercise is extremely effective for improving the strength of the muscles and joints in the lower body. They work especially well for the hips, knees and ankles and help in strengthening them. Besides strengthening, forward lunges also helps to improve the stability and body balance by working on the core of your child’s body. If there ever could be an extremely useful one-leg bodyweight exercise with good leverage, it would surely be forward lunges.
Benefits Of Forward Lunges
- Strengthens the leg and hip muscles
- Tones your legs and your hips
- Enhances and maintains your core strength
- Improves the flexibility of your lower body
- Enhances the body symmetry of your child
- Works on the spinal cord and improves the spinal strength
Also considered as a warm up exercise for children and adults both, stretching has multiple benefits. It not only prepares you for performing other exercises but also loosens your muscles thus preventing you from getting strained badly. Besides this, stretching can also improve flexibility and postural strength. This is one of the major reasons why dancers are asked to stretch before they rehearse or go out on the stage.
Not just dancers, athletes, runners, swimmers and all other people who are involved in physical activities are asked to stretch before they start with other exercises.
One thing to keep in mind while stretching is to always keep your back straight and sit with your legs comfortable while maintaining the posture. Children often tend to get this wrong. So, you need to ensure that your child does the mentioned two things along with breathing properly to reap the benefits of stretching.
Benefits Of Stretching
- Increases the joint flexibility thus allowing your child to do other exercises at ease
- Reduces the tension in the muscles thus preparing them for other exercises
- Enhances muscle co-ordination thus helping your child perform exercises like running and skipping better
- Improves the functioning of the circulatory system thus making sure that the blood passes through all the parts of the body
While adults do squats tp get a firm and a well-shaped bottom, there are multiple other benefits of squats that can even prove to be useful for children too. It is an effective strength training exercise that calls for several muscles of both your upper and your lower body to function simultaneously. For children, squats are highly effective in losing weight and also in managing obesity.
Benefits Of Doing Squats
- Enhances the functioning of the circulatory system thus aiding in better blood circulation
- Does not allow the formation of cellulite in the body
- Improves the functioning of the digestive system
- Helps in burning body fat and maintaining proper body weight
- Unlike other strenuous exercises, this exercise does not put a strain on any part of the body and keeps your child safe, especially their neck
- Can be done anywhere without the need for any expensive equipment
Exercising can be a very healthy habit and can prove to be especially beneficial if done from a tender age. So, if you have a child at home, surely encourage him or her to exercise regularly. You can also exercise along with them. This will keep you and your child fit all at the same time. Plus it will also encourage your child since he or she will surely looking forward to spending this enjoyable time with you.