Six-year-old Bianca was dancing to “Better When I’m Dancing” by Meghan Trainor. She was all sweaty and in a trance-like state when she danced. Her mom loved how Bia was carefree – her natural, uninhibited self – when she danced.
Ruby discovered Bianca’s love for dancing when she saw her in the aerobics class at school. I know, aerobics for kids sounds a little unnecessary. But it isn’t! Here, MomJunction tells you about the importance and benefits of aerobics for children of all ages.
The word ‘aerobic’ means relating to oxygen or free oxygen. Aerobic exercises, also referred to as aerobics, are cardiac activities, which means that they make the heart pump faster by increasing the heart rate and breathing. This supplies more air or oxygen to the lungs.
Benefits Of Aerobics For Kids
Now that we have tackled the ‘what’, let’s move on to the ‘why’.
Kids play a lot, indulging in physical activity. So why do they need aerobics?
Well, here’s the thing. Not all kids are as active as they should be. Your child may be interested in reading, drawing, or playing with toys. But does he or she indulge in strenuous physical, heart-pumping activities such as a sport or dance?
If your answer is no and you think your child does not get enough physical exercise, you should consider enrolling him or her in an aerobics class. Continue reading to know more about the benefits of aerobics for kids.
1. Healthy heart and lungs
As mentioned above, when you do aerobic exercises, your heart rate increases, thus pumping more blood to the heart. This increases the amount of oxygen supplied to the heart and the lungs, thus improving the breathing. This also improves the overall heart and lung health of the child.
2. Keeps weight in check
Physical exertion burns more calories than mild exercises such as walking. Aerobics, one of the fastest ways of losing weight, makes you sweat – which means that you lose calories and the unwanted fat in the body. Regular aerobic exercise prevents the child from gaining extra weight or becoming obese.
3. Strengthens muscles
Your kids don’t need strength training to build their muscles. All they need is 20 minutes of aerobic exercises every day. According to a study, people who were previously unfit developed muscle skeletal protein power after four weeks of aerobics (1). Also, aerobics helps strengthen the heart, which is one of the most important muscles.
4. Strong bones
One of the best ways to strengthen your bones is to do weight-bearing exercises such as dancing or aerobics. When you encourage your child to do aerobics, you are helping him or her build stronger bones.
5. Detoxification of the body
Your body gets rid of the toxins through sweat, tears, and urine. Aerobics results in sweating, and this helps the body flush out the toxins, thus boosting energy, cleansing the liver and improving skin health.
6. Build immunity
Aerobic exercises make your children stronger, although it is not known how. Some theories suggest that physical activity such as aerobics flushes out the bacteria through the airways. It is also believed that exercises change the white blood cells and disease-fighting antibodies (2), which play a major role in the kid’s immunity levels.
[ Read: Immunization Chart For Children ]
7. Fight depression
The fast body movement in aerobics improves the production of endorphins in the body. Regular exercises help improve moods and fight mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders. In fact, aerobics combined with medication can be the best way to fight depression in children and adults.
8. Improve social skills
Aerobics is a group activity performed indoors or outdoors. When your child goes for aerobics classes, she meets a lot of children, which can help her work on her socializing skills as well, especially if she is shy or apprehensive of socializing.
9. Better academic performance
A fit body can help you develop a fit mind. Studies have shown that regular aerobics can help children focus better and makes them less impulsive. It also boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is critical for brain cell growth (3).
10. Aerobics is fun!
Regular exercises such as walking or working out in a gym can seem tiresome even for adults. When you want your kids to workout, you need to think of something interesting such as aerobics. Besides aerobic exercises, a class of aerobics dancing every day can be an excellent idea.
It is important to inculcate the habit of exercising early on in kids and you can start with fun aerobics for kindergarten kids.
Types Of Aerobic Exercises For Kids
Aerobics isn’t just limited to dancing in a professional studio. Any exercise that helps you breathe faster and increase your heart rate can be considered aerobic. In this section, we have listed down the different aerobic activities that your child can indulge in.
Soon after they learn to walk, they start running. That’s how much kids enjoy running. So why not begin with this easy and natural aerobic exercise for kids? You can take them to a track or a park and run with them every day. Or you could make them run in your own yard. Wherever they run, make sure it is safe. And make it an everyday habit.
[ Read: Benefits Of Exercises For Kids ]
2. Chasing and running
If the kid does not want to run for the sake of exercise, make them play a game that needs them to run. Tag, for instance, is a game that involves chasing and running. You can also try games such as Capture the Flag, Red Rover, Spud, or just have a running competition.
3. Jumping rope
While girls play this the most, boys can try this aerobic exercise too. All you need is a skipping rope, and you are ready to go. You can also play this as a game with three people.
Hold either end of the rope in each hand and the rope behind you. Swing the rope above your head, and complete a 360-degree move, and jump before the rope hits your feet.
When there are three players, two people hold either end of the rope and swing it, and the third one jumps.
4. Skateboarding and rollerblading
Skateboarding and rollerblading teach you how to balance yourself when moving with speed. They are moderate aerobic exercises that allow you to exert yourself a little when you use force to propel yourself or use the strength of your body to move in different directions.
Skateboarding or rollerblading for at least 150 minutes a week will give you adequate exercise to stay healthy.
Cycling not only keeps you fit but also allows you to get from one place to another without creating a carbon footprint. You also have stationary biking, but kids may not enjoy it as much. Cycling works the lower body muscles and also pumps up your heart rate, especially if you go mountain biking or cycle on hilly terrains.
Fun fact: If you cycle for one hour on an electricity generating bicycle, you can create enough energy to power your home for 24 hours!
6. Aerobic dancing
This is perhaps the most exciting form of aerobics, and fun too, jazzed up with lively music! Step aerobics for kids involves a series of set movements that ensure a complete body workout and leave your kid sweating. There are several aerobic dance videos for kids that you can refer to for this.
[ Read: Warm Up Exercises For Kids ]
Sports such as gymnastics, hockey, football, or soccer, tennis, boxing, and circuit training can also be an excellent way to get your child the needed physical exercise every week. You can encourage them to try water aerobics, which are group aerobic exercises done in shallow waters such as a swimming pool.
8. Speed walking
Walking at a normal pace is anaerobic. But when you pick up a pace and walk faster, your heart beats and pumps blood faster. Fast walking is when you take quick, short steps, for exercise. This is not the same as walking at an average pace or strolling.
Hiking is climbing or walking on an inclined terrain such as a hill. When you hike, you apply pressure on your lower body (legs) to propel yourself forward, which improves your blood pressure and increases your heart rate. The result – by the time you reach the top of the hill or the hiking trail, you would be sweating.
You can take your kids on a hiking trip once or twice a week for good exercise.
[ Read: Yoga Poses For Kids ]
Swimming is one of the best aerobic exercises that makes use of the entire body. Also an important life skill, this activity can help strengthen the child’s muscles and is less risky than other physical activities that could result in bone injury. Besides swimming, you can also try aquaerobics or water aerobics that are organized by community health centers, clubs, or even a few schools.
Cheer-leading is a performance and presentation of athletic skills of participants and involves dancing and jumping while chanting a slogan to support a team. This may not be something that every girl or boy wants to do. But if your kid does, then encourage them by all means.
12. House and yard work
Nothing beats yard work like mowing the lawn, gardening, raking the leaves, and other household chores that exert you physically. Give the child routine tasks such as carrying something a little wet, washing the driveway, mopping the floors in the house, moving the furniture, etc. But be cautious of muscle injuries when moving stuff.
This can be an easy way to get a stubborn or lazy teen to exercise.
Skiing is similar to skateboarding and ideal for older kids. Teenagers living in snowy areas can try this sport that requires physical strength and agility to maneuver the body on the skis. Downhill skiing is an aerobic exercise when the skier is trying to propel the body and control movement solely using the strength of his legs and hands.
Dancing – whether it is ballroom dancing, hip-hop, salsa or freestyle – is fun. When you dance, you move your body to match the rhythm of the aerobics music, which can be energizing. Sometimes, even ballroom dancing, which may seem slow, is aerobic in nature and helps in burning calories and in improving your cardio endurance.
[ Read: Stretching Exercises For Kids ]
15. Rowing or canoeing
Ideal for teenagers and adults, rowing and canoeing engage your upper-body strength. The sport increases your heart rate as you move the oars in a quick motion to propel the canoe or boat ahead. You can try rowing an actual boat or canoe in the water, or you could get a rowing machine and exercise in the basement.
In addition to these, you can try other aerobic exercises and activities such as karate and ice skating. Another interesting activity is the ‘Suryanamaskar’ or Sun salutation yoga exercise that stretches and works the entire body. Whatever aerobic activity you choose, introduce it to the child slowly and gradually.
Start with a few minutes of exercise every day and move on to a higher duration. Regardless of the time spent, make sure that the child is exercising every day. That is the only way to stay fit and healthy.
Does your child exercise? Share your views on aerobics exercises for kids and teens here.
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