how to teach your kids the value of exercise (and have fun while doing it)
Teaching kids to love exercise starts at an early age. At least three times a week, I come up with a workout that involves the family. Of course, I amp it up for the adults and make it fun for my 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. If you can teach kids that exercise is fun and not a pain, you’ve taught them a great life lesson.
When setting up workouts for your kids there are some important things that we have learned to consider:
Integrity - Make sure they focus on full range of motion and count every single rep.
Hard work - Teach them the importance of working hard and how great it feels to accomplish something. Our kids now tell us they want to workout.
Lead by example - Inspire each other to put down the iPad, computer, phone, or controller, and get some movement.
Self-control - As addicting as technology can be, when the kids see their parents or siblings working out, they want to move around and hang with the family.
Kids are like sponges so make sure they absorb healthy habits they can carry with them when they become adults.
Things that have been extremely successful in the past are setting up daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly workout challenges.
Our last weekly challenge we worked on handstands, and I spent time showing the kids how to kick up into a handstand. Here is simple progression to help with working on getting comfortable upside down for kids.
Step 1: Straight arms is a strong arm. Help them understand that when their arms bend there is a loss of strength.
Step 2: Step and reach. Step with whichever foot comes naturally.
Step 3: Work on hand placement. Shoulder width, fingers spread, elbows locked.
Step 4: Jump with your forward leg. Practice feeling how much power and effort it takes to start getting yourself more and more inverted.
Step 5: Put it all together. If you have someone you trust to spot you, have them grab your leg and here’s where you can work on a nice tight and straight body, and keeping your alignment stacked.
Our last monthly challenge we did involved pull ups. Everyone in the family did some form of pulling 5 days a week for an entire month. Each week we progressed on the reps, and it was extremely motivating and fun for the kids to see results with consistent work.
We have yearly challenges using the concept2 skierg and bikeerg. As a family we compete in the world sprints on both machines and try to beat our times from the year before and see where we stack up in the world age group rankings.
The big thing to consider with young kids is connective tissue: it's not well developed, muscle develops 3x faster, so it is easy to over-power tendons and ligaments by doing too much strength work too quickly. They will do just fine with light to medium loads for a long time, and the younger the trainee the longer you can wait before strength will become a limiting factor and need to be addressed.
You will be surprised by the power-to-weight ratio the kids have and should do everything to preserve it so again, heavy loads are not needed or advised. Any circuits - 10-1 ladders - that work strength-endurance and Cardiovascular power-endurance are great. Anything they do to improve aerobic fitness will speed recovery day to day.
Implement some of these ideas above and if you need more help email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the time with you family and enjoy the vast lifelong benefits getting healthy!