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Tips for great workouts for kids

I don't have to tell you that child obesity is a growing problem in America; it is always in the media. Now that we are aware of the problem, I believe nutrition and health professionals should educate parents and their children on how to stay active and live healthy fit lives. This starts with the parents and carries on into the school systems. Children spend more time at school than at home so we can't overlook the importance of educating all the adults in a child's life.

It has been stated by many professionals that you should start integrating fitness in a child's life even as early as 4 years old. Well that is true and is wonderful advice, but what about the kids that are older and already have a weight problem. This is the problem at hand and we need to address now and not when they are older. To all the parents out there that want to get their children active but simply don't know how I am going to give you a few tips to keep in mind. I am a fitness professional and I know how hard it is for adults to be motivated and excited about exercise so just imagine how much harder it is to achieve with kids!!! It is definitely more challenging but it can be done.

First we need you as parents to set an example. YES YOU! Our children look up to the adults in their lives and if you stay active it will help in getting your kids active. It is has been researched and children that are active at a young age grow up to be active adults. So we need to start the cycle of living active lives to pass on down the line.

For 4-6 year olds:

Getting younger kids active is a lot easier. At this stage they are just learning basic movements skills such as walking, jumping, catching, kicking, throwing, hitting a ball and etc. This is basically the foundation stage. Here's a tip: Trying a new sport with your kids each week or two weeks. This will keep them active and will help them learn what sports or activities they like the best or are better at. This will be things like t-ball, golf, dribbling a basketball or shooting a basketball on a short goal to kicking a soccer ball. Just be creative and you can't go wrong as long as they are moving.

For 7-9 year olds:

This is still a stage where it is still easy to keep kids active. Here is where they have already learned basic motor skills and are ready for more advanced movements. At this level you would take away the t-ball stand and have them hit a moving ball. This is where their hand eye coordination is developed. Here's a tip: Team sports can be a great physical activity for a child at this age. They meet friends, have fun and stay active. If you don't want them to be in a competitive environment you can play these sports with your kids for fun this will be a chance for you to be involved in your child's physical activity. Also fitness games are a huge success in my profession as a fitness professional. This is a chance for kids to stay active and have fun. Examples of fitness games are playing tag, having fitness races (example running down doing 5 pushups and running back and the running down again and doing 15 sit ups and so forth).

For 10+ year olds:

This is usually the point were kids get disinterested in fitness. So it is important to keep them active until their high school years. This is where they can be involved in dancing, exercise classes, team sports, biking, roller blading, gymnastics or martial arts. Also are 12 years and older your kids can be put on a strength training routine. Here's a tip: You can get a personal trainer to train you child and some of their buddies at once to keep them motivated. Also teen boot camps are a great way to stay fit.

Basically a rule of thumb is to get them active while having fun and you can't go wrong. As a parent you can be encouraging about the activities they want to participate in, you can plan family outdoor activities on the weekends, like hiking, swimming, roller blading, and etc. Really anything as a family that involves physical activity. Just remember KEEP MOVING! I didn't mention tips on nutrition but that is a whole other article. But just remember nutrition and exercise together gets quicker results, and contributes to an overall healthy lifestyle. Thanks and I hope this article helps!

By: Kristy Donathan

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