At the risk of sounding even older than I am, I remember the days when kids spent a lot more time outdoors. It was just customary to run and play with friends after school and on the weekend. If we spent too much time watching the 12 TV channels available, our parents would evict us from the house with the order, “Go outside and play!”
Of course, entertainment options have expanded dramatically in the decades since then. Between the thousand channel universe, computers, smartphones, and video games, kids now have more reasons than ever to be inert. That is taking a toll on their health as childhood obesity levels are approaching crisis levels.
If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough physical activity, here are some simple, but effective exercises that you can do together:
One of the most traditional exercises is also good for kids, though don’t necessarily worry if they cannot keep from bending their knees: the benefits are still there.
Another oldie, but goodie, sit-ups help to strengthen core muscles. At this age, it is not necessary for the child to curl all of the way up to their knees.
This is another basic exercise that helps to increase both arm and core strength. Children may find this tough at first, but as their strength increases, their endurance will also go up.
I don’t mean aerobics in the 20 Minute Workout sense, but sports you and the kids can easily enjoy at home or in the park. These include basketball, tennis, soccer, running and jogging, and bicycling.
These are great for increasing leg strength and require no special equipment whatsoever; just grab a chair from the kitchen or living room. Once kids get good at this, you can increase the challenge by having them hold a pair of weights in their hands.