Tired yet? Keep in mind that your kids don't need to run the obstacle course for hours to get a daily dose of exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Kardio Kids instructor Holt explains, “These 30 minutes are cumulative, meaning a child can play vigorously for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon to reach the daily recommendation. Of course more is better.”
Children's Exercise Videos/DVDs
It’s estimated that almost half of American children watch three to five hours of television a day, and according to Dr. Torgan, “Kids who watch the most hours of television have the highest incidence of obesity.”
Although most children’s videos and DVDs leave kids goggle-eyed and lethargic, exercise videos have them leaping off the couch and having fun while building muscles and endurance. Just type, “Kids exercise video” into any search engine and you’ll come up with dozens of options. There’s Elmocize and Barney Exercise Circus for the diaper gang, Move and Groove Kids to get them up and dancing, Mini-Muscles with Cindy Crawford and children’s videos that teach yoga, Tae Bo, aerobics, kick-boxing, and everything in between.
Be Safe, Have Fun!
While it’s important to keep children active, it’s also vital to remember their limitations and consider their safety. Pint-sized treadmills, weight benches, and other miniature workout equipment, originally designed for adults, are a bad idea. On one hand, those tiny machines carry a hefty price tag, and on the other, they can be downright dangerous and completely unnecessary.
“A young child’s body is very vulnerable to trauma, so machines and/or other forms of exercise equipment are not recommended,” Holt explains. “There are plenty of activities to keep a child active that are much more stimulating to developing their minds.”
By the same token, try to keep your kids' fitness routine and exercise fun, rather than mere exercise. If kids feel like they’re being forced to do something unpleasant, they most likely won’t keep it up. But if exercising means dancing around the room with Mom and having tickle fights with Dad, you can bet they’ll be ready for more.
Plus, if your children see you exercising regularly, they’ll join you out of habit. According to a 1989 research paper by The Melpomene Institute, “Parental physical activity patterns and the time parents spend with their children in physically active pursuits were two of the most influential factors,” in a child’s participation in physical pursuits. Holt agrees, “Start teaching your children the value of being physically active as early as possible. The old adage, ‘Like mother, like daughter’ is true, so be a role model.”
So grab a Nerf ball, turn up the radio, toss the cushions down, and start having fun—you can always get a new couch next year!