Whether it’s a series of simple stretches or group games that get everyone working out together, exercising as a family can be a great source of fun, and it’s good for us, too. Encouraging good fitness habits in children from an early age is an excellent way to aid their growth and development – and for us big kids, keeping active is one of the best ways to stay healthy.
The benefits of exercise for children
There are many benefits of exercise for children, which is why it’s so important we provide our kids with plenty of opportunities to get their bodies moving. Not only are there the obvious physical advantages, such as helping to minimise the risk of childhood obesity, but there are a whole host of other perks too. Research suggests that regular exercise could be just as good for the mind as it is for the body by helping children to improve their cognitive function and perform well at school.
Great exercises for kids
Kids’ exercises shouldn’t just get the body moving, they should be fun too! After all, children are more likely to want to exercise again if they enjoy it. Here are 5 fun exercises for kids that the whole family will enjoy, helping you to all spend some quality time together and stay fit.
- Statue freeze You may be pleased to hear that kids’ exercises aren’t always about running round and getting out of breath. In fact, strength training is a hugely important part of keeping fit and healthy. In ‘statue freeze’, players are encouraged to adopt some funny positions, like standing on one leg, until you shout ‘stop’. See who can hold their position the longest. It really works the muscles, and it’s great for building endurance.
- Obstacle course The best thing about an obstacle course is that you don’t need any special objects to make a great — and challenging — course. If you’ve got an old hula hoop, a jump rope, a table, or any other types of garden toy or garden furniture, you can join in with this. Lay the items around the garden, determine a start and an end point, and tell the kids how they need to tackle the course, like crawling under the table or ‘tightrope’ walking along the rope.
- Scavenger hunt Although it may not sound like it, walking is excellent exercise, and it’s one of the best exercises for families. Why? Because it’s low impact, and you can take it at your own pace, so toddlers, kids, parents, and grandparents can all join in. To make your walk more fun, turn it into a scavenger hunt: write down some clues that the kids have to figure out along the way. The end destination could be the beach, a playground, or your kids’ favourite ice cream shop.
- Balloon ball Unfortunately, there are times that it may be a too cold or a bit too wet to head outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun exercising. Try ‘balloon ball’, which is one of the best indoor exercises for children – and it’s simple. All you have to do is inflate a balloon and hit it back and forth between the group. It might sound easy, but we guarantee you’ll be puffing and panting by the end. It’s so much fun you won’t even realise you’ve been working out!
- Crab race Another great indoor exercise for kids and grown-ups is the crab race, which is sure to have everyone desperate to reach the finish line! Again, this is really simple. Get yourself into a crab position, and see who’s first to reach the end of your racecourse (you can always mark the finish post with some rope, or even a cushion). If you’re not quite flexible enough for the crab position, you could always try wheelbarrow races instead. Believe it or not, this is actually a great cardio workout that really gets the heart pumping - and it’s fun, too!
Although most of us don’t really get too excited at the thought of exercising, these fun exercise for kids don’t seem like exercise at all! They’re a great way for all the family to have a good time, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re also helping up to stay fit and healthy!