Do you Know How to Plan your Child’s Exercise Program?

You may not consider that that your children need to follow a childs exercise program but if you want them to grow up to be fit and healthy now is the time to encourage a new lifestyle.

For children, it doesn’t have to be planned like an adult exercise program as it  basically means getting them up, moving and motivated.

Today more then ever, children consider playing to be sitting in front of a TV or computer or using some hand held game player. Back in the day when we were children playing meant you were out of the house after breakfast running and jumping around, skipping, bike riding, and playing kickball with your friends in the street or near by field.

Depending on the age of your children, you don’t really have to explain to them why you are encouraging them to get up and get moving, but if they are older then you should.

Children are amazingly receptive and most of the time all it takes is for you to explain it to them and they will get on with it on their own. Let them know the benefits of exercising or playing physically:

The Benefits of a Childs Exercise Program

  • Stronger muscles and bones.
  • Leaner body, less body fat.
  • Reduce the likelihood of being overweight and even obese.
  • Decrease risk of type II diabetes.
  • Better controlled blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Happier kids with a lot more energy
  • Better sleep
  • Can handle stress better

In other words the benefits are similar to those of an adult. Speaking of which if you are truly planning on putting together a schedule of exercises for your child, I hope that you have a plan for your own exercises as well.

As I stated earlier, children are receptive, if you aren’t getting up and getting moving why should they? I have a friend who runs with her daughter everyday before her child goes to cross country practice. They do three miles together and then her daughter goes and does another 2 with her team. She is only 12 years old.

Children would rather exercise with someone, and you may be surprised to find out that the person they want to exercise with is you, their parent. So, let’s get this started with the planning.

Three Componants of a Childs Exercise Program

There are three important components that need to be present in fitness exercise routines for children.

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Flexibility

You can see these three components in practice on kids playgrounds and you don’t realize it. Watch the way they run during tag, see if they can do the monkey bars and play hopscotch or even as they bend down to tie their shoes. We need a balance of all three in the activities we are going to set up for the children.

Endurance

will increase with regular aerobic activities, which will make them breathe harder and the heart beat faster. The following activities will strengthen their hearts and improve the efficiency of the body’s ability to get oxygen to the cells.

Basketball, soccer, tennis, walking, jogging, running, and jump rope are all aerobic exercises and there isn’t one of those that you as a parent can’t participate in as well.

Strength

is the next element we need to work on. This doesn’t necessarily mean weight lifting, though if that is your preference as well as the child’s that is great. Make sure though that weight lifting is the child’s choice and is NEVER left to do it alone.

There are excellent exercises that can be done to improve strength without weights such as push-ups, stomach crunches, chin ups on the monkey bars. Strength is also improved with handstands, tree climbing or just wrestling around with friends.

Suppleness and agility

is very important as helps in avoiding or lessening any damage to our bodies that might occur. Stretching is the best exercise for this. This can actually be a game with you and your child to see who can reach the farthest from various positions.

Remind them to never stretch to the point of pain. Stretching is probably the one activity that even the most sedentary of people have to do whenever they need something and have to reach for it.

To help encourage your child to get more physically active find out what sports they like and look in your local area for camps or clubs that they can join. Most places have soccer, basketball and football camps or leagues that children can play in and judo classes are popular with most kids.

Find one that is not competition based to start off with. This way, your child works on a team, learns techniques and is encouraged to keep trying even if they aren’t perfect at first.

The leagues, camps and clubs can be a lot of fun and depending on where you live will dictate cost. It is worth looking around to see what’s on offer as costs can vary from free to quite expensive. Your local gym is another place to visit and find out what they can offer to children. One gym I belonged to had a program specifically for kids. The sessions lasted for forty five minutes three days a week with trainers taking them through aerobics and weights.

My kids loved it, they worked out with other children and made a lot of new friends of their own age and interests. Because I could see them while I was working out it was great.

Some gyms encourage the children work out with their parents. This is a great way of bringing the family together and encouraging each other as turns are taken on the various fitness machines.

You can try to encourage your children all you want, but you do have to lead by example. Sitting in front of the TV and expecting your children to get on with exercising while you laze around will quickly disillusion them. After all if being a couch potato is good enough for you then why shouldn’t it be good enough for them?

 

 

My advice is to work out a regular activity program that you will do with them. Ride your bike while they run next to you. Go for a family walk before dinner together and talk about your days activity. Another idea is to offer awards and treats for progress in their exercising.

Competition is healthy but beware of overdoing the winning at all costs and pushing them to be the best. Children need positive reinforcement for what they are doing or they will quit, so quiet and patient encouragement is the answer.

Be careful that you do not enter them into competitions that are above their capabilities as they will realize that they are not living up to your expectations and to avoid disappointing you will turn away from that activity.

In particular satisfy yourself that they really enjoy and want to participate in the competitive activity and are not doing it just to please you.

Exercise is good for the whole family and should always be fun for everybody and not a chore.

 

 

Category: Kids Exercising

About the Author ()

Jaks Lloyd is the publisher and author of this site.

Comments (3)

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  1. fitline says:

    nowadays children are more fond of video games as compared to other outdoors so such planning is really very essential for their overall development.

  2. Simon says:

    what is the right age for the kids to workout in the gym? I have a son who is turning 14 this November, and I want him to workout and be fit. Is it possible for him to workout at that age?

    • Jaks says:

      Hi Simon

      In a good gym there should be supervision so your son will be able to work out without any worries. However, I would not recommend using heavy weights too soon in case of overstrain on his muscles as they develop. As he gets older he can gradually introduce them into his routine.
      Remember to avoid injury he should begin and end with some gentle stretching exercises.

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