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The modern kid has been turned into a couch potato, attuned to television, computers and video games. Fitness has taken a back seat with these kids. Unlike the child of yesteryears who enjoyed outdoor games and activities, today's children have very little or no physical or outdoor activity at all. Teaching young children the importance of fitness and proper nutritional practices as vital to maintaining health should be the motto of every discerning parent.
Children should be encouraged to swim, bike, play ball with friends or just take a ten minute break while doing home work. The child should also be motivated to participate in sports organized by the school. Find out how you can inculcate kid fitness.
Kid Fitness with exercise
Inactivity is fast becoming an epidemic among children. In the US, the government and healthcare professionals recommend that children and adolescents participate in a sixty minute or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. Exercise for a child means playing. Kids are physically active or exercise when they have gym at school, baseball or soccer practice or dance class or when they are at recess, riding a cycle or a bike or playing hide and seek or tag. Regular exercise can be of great advantage for the child.
Exercise helps control body fat. Therefore the child develops stronger muscles and bones and a leaner body.
Chances of becoming overweight are lesser in a child who indulges in physical activity.
Possibilities of diseases associated with obesity such as type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart ailments are much lower in a child who exercises.
Psychologically the child who exercises develops optimism and a better outlook to life.
Kids who are physically fit sleep better. They are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges that the modern lifestyle presents.
Regular exercise regimen for kids
Warming up: To prevent injury, it is important that the child warms up before exercising. The warm up session should be for about five minutes of light activity such as walking, jumping, bending, and knee lifting and stretching.
Exercising: After warming up, the child should perform fifteen to forty minutes of regular exercise every day. This can include fast walking, jogging, biking, roller skating, running, swimming, jumping rope or group activities and outdoor games such as hockey, soccer, volley ball, base ball or foot ball.
Cooling down: To prevent injury, it is important for the child to cool down after exercising. This, like warm up, should be a five minute light activity.
Strength building: Strength training can be important part of a child's fitness routine. Strength training can lead to increase in muscle mass. Since it is muscle that burns more calories than fat, by increasing a child's muscle mass, it would be easier for the child to maintain healthy weight. Strength training can be done after the cooling down regimen on alternate days. This is apart from the regular exercise schedule. Such strength training exercises would include:
Arm curls and free weights
Children should be encouraged to have atleast one to two eight ounce glasses of water before and during the exercise routine. This will help to prevent dehydration in children.
Raising a fit kid
Children of school going age should not be left inactive for more than two hours time at a stretch. One of the best methods to get the child to be more active is by limiting the number of time spent in watching TV or playing video games or indulging in some other such sedentary activities.
Endurance: This element of fitness is developed by regular aerobic activity. Aerobic exercises can be fun for the child. Some fun aerobic activities for the child are bicycling, running, jogging, walking, swimming and games like basketball, soccer and tennis.
Strength: Pushups, stomach crunches, pull ups and such other exercises help to tone up and strengthen the muscles of children. Activities like climbing or wresting can also incorporate strength in a child.
Flexibility: Stretching exercises allow the muscles to bend and the joints to move easily. These stretches help improve flexibility in children. Kids stretch when they reach out to get a toy, practice a split, flip over a couch or simply bend down to tie their shoe.
Walking or biking instead of driving for short distances.
Stairs can be used instead of escalators or elevators.
Parking the car at the end of the parking lot and walking to the entrance of the mall along with the kid.
Chores such as doing house work or garden work.
Fitness equipment for kids
Lateral climbing walls: This is a popular elliptical trainer that works on the entire body of the kid. It has been carefully designed to supply more balance for fast growing bodies. It is motivational and easy to use. It is suitable for children over the age of nine years.
An exercise bike specifically engineered for children from the ages of five to twelve years can be selected. A fully recumbent exercise bike is suitable for children over the age of ten years.
A heavy duty rowing machine gives the child the feel of an Olympic rowing. The child's major muscle groups are easily worked by the smooth, rhythmic impact caused by the free motion of rowing.
A skier allows the child to imagine themselves as racing downhill while elevating their heart rate and improving balance.
A stepper is built for heavy and tough usage. The stepper is adjustable for tension and speed control.
Dance revolution: The dance revolution is the latest craze among children. Dancing helps to lose weight and get into shape. It also provides the kid balance, strength, creativity and cardiovascular endurance.