Children need more exercise now than ever before. With excess screen time, fewer and shorter recesses at school, and crazy packed schedules, they are missing out on one of the prime factors of childhood. When you schedule time to exercise with your kids, you are gifting them a healthy lifestyle and getting in the exercise you need for your own wellness.
Follow these 7 exercises for a better lifestyle for you and your young ones.
1. Bodyweight squats
Requiring no equipment and only the space each body takes up, bodyweight squats are a fun, safe, and effective family workout. To perform a simple bodyweight squat, have your child stand with their feet shoulder-width apart. Have them imagine they are sitting down in a chair, squatting down until their thighs are parallel with the floor. (It can even be beneficial to practice with an actual chair at first). Have your child stand back up out of the squat and then repeat the motion 7-10 times for 3 sets. As your child builds strength, you can change up the type of squats you do. Sumo squats are done with a wider stance (beyond shoulder width) and for jump squats your child will squat down and jump out of the position, landing back down in a squat.
Planks promote stability and help build your child’s (and your) core muscles. This helps with balance, posture, and builds a stronger back. For a plank, have your child lay on their stomach on the floor. Have them raise themselves up on their hands and toes and hold themselves up for up to 20 seconds (or as long as possible). Take a 10-second rest and then repeat the plank 2-3 more times.
3. Mountain climbers
This exercise blends cardio with fast movement to expel serious energy and work your child’s whole body. Your kids will probably have fun trying to “climb the mountain” faster than you! For mountain climbers, start your child in her plank position, raised up on hands and toes. Have her raise one knee toward her chest and then lower it back to starting position and do the same thing with the opposite leg. Have her keep her body in as straight a line as possible during each movement. She’ll repeat these motions quickly, so it will feel like climbing up a steep mountain! You can start these with 3 sets of 10 reps per leg (so a full count to 20) and gradually increase as everyone improves.
A classic, push-ups are a great way to build upper body strength and work on stability through proper form. Start your child on their stomach on the floor, palms against the floor near their shoulders and feet only a short distance apart. Have your child press into the floor through their palms, pushing themselves up until their arms are straight. They should then slowly lower their chest back to the floor and then push away again. Try 3 sets of as many push-ups as your child can do, and increase from there.
5. Family walks
Going for a walk every day as a family is not only an opportunity to get in light cardio work, but it also gives you a chance to connect with your kids on a deeper level. Take this time to ask how your child is doing in school, what their friends are up to, and tell them about your day. You can squeeze a family walk in any time during the day. After school and work is over, you can walk your dog together, or help dinner digest with a post-meal walk.
6. Have a dance party
Dancing is the perfect way to pump up everyone’s heart rate, get silly together, and work off lazy day snacks. Make it a challenge with a dance-off, get geeky by making up some signature family moves, or teach your kids some classic dance moves. This is a good way to sneak in hours of exercise, since you will probably all forget to check the time.
7. Go to the park
Most family style parks have jungle gyms, ropes courses, and other fun equipment to climb, crawl, and race through. Challenge your kids to see who can race across the monkey bars the fastest, play hide-and-seek in the play forts, or put on your suit, and join them running through the splash pad. Playground equipment can be used to exercise the whole body and promotes creative play.
Teaming with a doctor who specializes in family medicine in Mississippi can give you powerful resources to get your family moving, and keep them healthy. Getting your kids off the couch and off their electronic devices will show them you take their health and yours seriously. It can reduce their stress levels, help regulate their weight, and grow their creativity.
For more information, contact MississippiCare today at (866) 608-1834 to speak with a healthcare professional.