Getting or keeping fit doesn’t have to involve elaborate equipment, expensive classes, or organized sports. Kids can work out in the privacy of their own room or the basement at home. Children can challenge themselves to improve their fitness, comparing themselves against themselves.
Some kids may feel more comfortable when they don’t have to match themselves against classmates. Other kids may prefer to move at a faster pace for their personal development or to improve their sports skills. All of these activities allow kids to move at their own pace – whatever that may be.
Water Bottle Weights to Build Kids’ Strength
Get two water bottles. These should be the same size and have tight-fitting covers. Check with a parent before taking the water bottles for this purpose. Fill the bottles with water and seal them shut. Take the bottles and weigh them, one at a time, on a bathroom or food scale.
Kids can start with two half-pound weights. When the exercises become easy, pour out the water and add sand or dirt. Re-weigh the bottles. When increasing the weight a kid works with, they should add a half pound at a time. Different size bottles hold different amounts of water and sand, so kids can experiment with a variety of bottles.
Now, use the weights to strengthen and tone muscles.
Biceps Curls – Work the muscles at the front of the upper arm by holding one weight in each hand that hangs next to the hips. Bend the elbows and raise the forearms until the weights are near the shoulders. Lower slowly. Repeat ten times.
Triceps Extensions – Hold one weight in both hands straight overhead. Bend the elbows, lowering the weight behind the head. Lift. Repeat ten times.
Squats – Hold a weight in each hand, down by the hips. Bend knees, lowering the body. Stand upright. Repeat ten times.
Chest Press – Lay on the ground. Hold a weight in each hand with the arms straight and reaching for the ceiling. Lower the weights by bending the elbows so the weights stop just above the chest. Push up and lower ten times.
Upper Back Row – Stand upright with a weight in each hand. Bend over from the waist so the body is in an “L” shape. Let the arms dangle toward the floor. Slowly pull the weights up toward the chest as the elbows point toward the ceiling. Repeat ten times.
Flexibility Test for Kids
To do this flexibility test, locate an empty wall inside the house. Kids should sit down with their back against the wall and their legs straight out in front. They then hold their arms straight in front and try to touch their toes. Avoid jerking or making quick movements that could straight the muscles. Move slowly while bending forward. Hold the position for no more than thirty seconds.
Place a marker, something flat on the floor (stick, key, rock, etc) that shows kids how far they could reach. They should stand up and measure from the wall to their marker using a tape measure or ruler. Record the results on paper.
Repeat this exercise each day (it isn’t necessary to measure each day). Once a week, measure the results of this flexibility exercise. Although it takes less than a minute to do this stretch, it will improve a kid’s flexibility within a month.
Indoor or Outdoor Obstacle Course for Kids
Take a ball of string or yarn and tie it to a chair or table leg. Now carry the string around the room, or from room to room, wrapping the string around different, sturdy objects (no lamps or vases). Bend and stretch while moving about the house or yard. Climb under and over objects. At the end of the obstacle course, tie the other end of the string to another sturdy object.
Now, go back to the beginning and start winding up the string, but repeat all those climbing, stretching, squatting motions while gathering the yarn. This gives kids two workouts that work on core (torso) muscles and flexibility. Kids should check with a parent before doing this and they should make sure everyone in the house knows about the string so they don’t trip or get tangled.
Kids can keep fit by doing an assortment of activities, from hiking games to riding their bike or creating their own indoor Olympic games. Every little bit helps.