October 19, 2011 | in Nanny
Back in the day, kids used to spend hours on bikes or playing kick ball in the alleys. Neighborhoods teemed with kids running up and down all over the place and everyone seemed to stay outside until the porch light came on signaling dinnertime. In the winter, sledding, ice skating and snowball fights were all the rage. Nowadays, kids live rather sedentary lives; glued to video games, cell phones and flat screen TV’s. Many schools have cut their physical education programs. Between home life and school, kids aren’t getting the exercise they need. But mention exercise to them and they will give you the “look.” So what’s a parent to do? Here are ten ideas to sneak in exercise for your kids.
- Interactive video games – Since the kids are plugged in already, you might as well take advantage of the situation. There are many interactive games to choose from: sporting games, relays, dancing and much more. These games are sure to get everyone in the family moving and burning calories from laughter, as well as motion.
- Sports – With all the sports programs available, most parents are sure to find something their child will enjoy. Not only will your child get the exercise he or she needs, they will also learn discipline, concentration and have the added value of making new friends.
- Yoga – Yoga is a good way to help kids become more flexible, increase their coordination and body awareness as well as their strength. Not only does it improve their concentration, it also promotes a sense of calm and well being. University of Michigan pediatrician Delores Mendelow says that yoga is a good alternative to tumbling and team sports, when done properly. It helps build discipline and gets sedentary or stressed out kids exercising and interacting with other children.
- Trampoline fun – Your kids will never know they are dong aerobic exercise as they bounce around on a trampoline. When safety guidelines are followed a trampoline can be a great way to build stamina, improve balance, coordination, flexibility and agility. Calories are burned more efficiently during trampoline exercise according to many doctors, coaches and trampoline experts. For children who don’t have any experience or interest in sports, the trampoline provides a perfect way to get a good work out while having fun.
- Hula Hoops – Did you know people have been hula hooping since at least 500 B.C.? Before the plastic versions of the 1950’s, hoops were made from dried willow, rattan, stiff grasses or grape vines. According to some 14th century medical records, people with dislocated backs and heart attack victims were encouraged to hoop for exercise. Hula hooping is a great way for today’s kids to have fun while exercising, and you can make it even more fun by seeing who can hoop the longest.
- Dancing – Put on some lively music, grab a partner and dance! With all the new dance shows on television it shouldn’t be too hard to get the kids interested in dancing around the house. Perhaps they might even like to take dance lessons. Not only will they be getting exercise, dancing with parents creates wonderful memories that will last forever.
- Playground – Don’t forget the local playground. With a little imagination all kinds of games can be created using playground apparatus. Some families have designed mini Olympics using all the different equipment. They include training sessions and award ceremonies as part of the ongoing activities.
- Walk the dog – Instead of just letting the dog out in the backyard, let the kids take him for a walk. If you have an older child with an entrepreneurial mindset, suggest that she consider asking neighbors if their dogs need walking. This can be a great way to get exercise and make a little spending change at the same time.
- Bicycling – Many communities have bike trails which are safe and fun to travel. Make sure your kids know all about bike safety and require them to wear helmets.
- Walking – Just plain walking doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to the average kid, but if you get that kid a pedometer, a map, a chart, a partner and a goal, all the sudden walking becomes an adventure. An imaginary walk to a particular destination gives your child a goal, and there are all kinds of things you can do to make the “trip” interesting along the way.
Part of getting kids interested in exercising is being a good role model. It’s going to be more difficult to get them up and moving if you are directing them from your own position on the couch, remote in hand, so get up and get moving too!
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