Many experts, like those at the American Academy of Pediatrics, say kids should get at least one hour of activity per day. Exercise machines with heavy weights, complicated features and moving parts can be difficult to use and even dangerous for kids, unless they have an adult working with them. You can find plenty of fun, easy exercises kids can do on their own to lose weight. Here are four suggestions to help kids ease into exercise before getting more sesrious with some weights or other equipment.
Motivate kids to keep the pace up by buying them an inexpensive heart rate monitor.
Where to buy heart rate monitors.
Yep, walking. It might be the best way to get your kids into exercise. It’s familiar, you can add some one-minute jogs, do it together and take the family dog.
If you are new to exercise, walking a little faster and using your arms will burn more calories. Without jogging, pick up the pace of your walk around the block or down the street and back. Swing your arms in long swings, or bend your arms and pump them in rhythm with your walking. The longer you walk, the more calories you burn. The faster you walk, the higher your heart rate goes and the more calories you burn.
Set some goals for yourself, either in minutes walked, distance walked or the time it takes you to walk a certain distance. Add some “sprints” in the form of jogging for a minute or two, and look for a route that takes you up and down hills.
Jumping rope also burns calories and even builds leg muscles. Depending on your child’s physical condition, you’ll want to start skipping slowly, then either maintain a moderate pace or get your heart rate up by skipping faster. Don’t worry if she’s tired after only one minute or so; jumping rope can be tough. If you start and stop over the course of your exercise, your heart rate will still be elevated during your rest periods and you’ll continue to burn calories.
Try jumping rope by landing on both feet, then on one foot, then by alternating which foot you land on. To strengthen the muscles in the backs of your lower leg, called the calf muscles, land on your toes.
Walking up and down stairs can really get you out of breath, which means it’s exercise. Going up and down stairs uses different muscles to push you on the way up and brake you on the way down, so you work different muscles during your exercise. If you don’t have many stairs or you’re in pretty good shape, try taking stairs two at a time or going faster. The longer you do stairs, the more muscle you build and the more calories you burn.
No kidding, dancing is great exercise, not just a fun thing to do at parties. Dancing is similar to jumping rope, without the rope, because it keeps you moving and your heart rate elevated. Encourage them to dance when no one is around so they can get crazy. Have them dance in front of a mirror. Make sure they move backwards and forwards and side to side, and use their arms to get more muscles involved. To make workouts a little easier, mix in a slower tune every third song to give them a chance to catch their breath. Time them from start to finish each dance session to see how much longer they can go each time.
Keep Track of Their Results
Using charts to track times, number of repetitions, weights lifted or machine resistance levels lets kids see how their work is contributing to their progress. An lets kids track their intensity during workouts, and lets them see how many calories they’ve burned.