Did you know that 1 in 5 children/ teenagers in the US has obesity? According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the reason behind this is “too few calories expended for the number of calories consumed” (1).
Making kids exercise is not easy because of the modern gadgets taking away most of their free time. But you need to tell them about the importance of being physically active and make exercising interesting so that they enjoy the experience.
MomJunction helps you do that as we share some fun-filled exercises for kids to do at home. Try them out with your kids.
15 Exercises For Children To Do
The strength exercise for the stomach works out the core, abs and the back.
- Rest the forearms on the ground.
- Keep the arms parallel to the body at a shoulder-width distance.
- Look at a particular spot on the floor to have the spine and neck neutralized.
- Keep the head in line with the back.
- Slightly lift the legs and the core a little upwards with the tip of the toes on the ground, and hold it.
- The weight of the body will be distributed between the forearms and toes.
- Retain it for as long as it is comfortable.
- It eliminates back pain
- Gives a toned belly
- Improves posture and balance
- Enhances muscle flexibility
[ Read: Stretching Exercises For Kids ]
Push-ups make for a complete chest exercise and an overall body workout.
- Lie face-down on the floor. The weight of the body will be on the chest.
- The hands are to be palms-down on the floor.
- Raise the body using the arms with weight supported by the hands and the balls of the feet.
- Go down by lowering the torso on the grounds as the elbows make a 90o angle.
- Keep the head facing ahead, and the body straight all through the exercise.
- Breathe in while going down, and breathe out while rising up.
- The push strength should come from the chest and the shoulders together.
- Repeat this lowering and lifting steadily, as long as comfortable.
- Good for cardiovascular system
- Prevents lower back injuries
- Improves posture
- Good for the whole body muscles
An excellent upper body exercise, it improves agility. Crunches can be performed at an early age.
- Lie flat on the floor with feet hip-width apart.
- Keep the knees bent.
- Interlace the hands behind the head with the thumbs behind the ears.
- Tilt the chin slightly up.
- Start pulling the abdomen inwards gently.
- Curl up by lifting the neck, head and shoulder blades off the ground.
- Hold the posture for a moment and lower the body to the ground, slowly.
- Builds the core strength
- Increases the flexibility of the torso
- Works out all the abdominal muscles
Cycling is the most uncomplicated, overall body workout.
- Find a suitable location for your child to cycle.
- Make sure it’s in a greener area, far from traffic.
- Make your kid wear riding clothes — long sleeved tees, long pants, covered shoes, knee and elbow pads.
- The child must wear a helmet that fits their size.
- Let them cycle during the daytime or afternoons and not after dark.
- Enhances joint mobility
- Decreases stress levels
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Increases muscle strength
[ Read: Pilates For Kids ]
This is a one-leg bodyweight exercise with tons of leverage.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, and keep the back straight.
- Look straight onto a wall, as that helps in balancing.
- Move the right leg forward and lean the body ahead — 70% of the body weight will now be on the front foot. Make sure that the upper body and the back are still straight.
- Lower the body until the right knee makes a 90o angle. Keep the back straight.
- The lower leg has to be parallel to the ground, and the thighs perpendicular.
- Use the right foot to push upward, and return to the position 90o position.
- Repeat this forward lunge with the other leg.
- Strengthens the legs and hips
- Great for the core strength
- Improves flexibility
- Enhances body symmetry
- Good for the spinal health
A fast and fit runner goes everywhere; run smarter, not harder.
- Warm up with jumping or doing arm swings. This will prepare the muscles for a good run.
- Look ahead on the ground to avoid tripping.
- While running, land midfoot and not on the toes, as landing on toes will make the calves tighter.
- Keep the feet pointed straight ahead.
- Keep the hands at the waist level while running and not too up the chest.
- The hands and arms should be as relaxed as possible while running.
- Keep checking the postures — head high, back straight and level, shoulders relaxed.
- Maintains weight
- Boosts confidence
- Relieves stress
- Tones the legs
- Helps fight depression
- Gives you the right dose of vitamin D
Besides being an exercise in itself, stretching is also imperative before starting any other physical activity.
- Sit with the back straight.
- Stretch both the legs as wide as comfortable.
- Hold the right knee with the right hand.
- Lift the left hand to the top of the head and leaning towards the right.
- While leaning rightwards, stretch the left part of the body as much as comfortable.
- Keep the breathing normal.
- Do it on the other side too.
- Increases the range of movement in the joints
- Reduces tension in muscles
- Improves muscle coordination
- Enhances blood circulation all over the body
[ Read: Breathing Exercises For Kids ]
8. Bridge lift
Bridge lift works the thighs, abs, and hips.
- Lie flat on the back; keep the hands on the sides and the knees bent.
- Place the feet shoulder-width apart.
- Pushing the body with the heels, lift the hips off the ground while keeping the back straight.
- Breathe out and hold the position for about a second.
- Come back to the initial position while breathing in.
- Reduces lower back and knee pain
- Strengthens the glutes
- Improves body posture
- Strengthens the core
- Stretches the spine, chest, and spine
- Enhances flexibility and improves balance
9. Backstretch (child pose)
The child’s pose backstretch is a mat exercise. Make sure your kid has a padded mat surface.
- Kneel on the mat with the hips on the heels.
- Keeping the toes together, open the knees hip distance apart.
- Lean forward and drape the body over the thighs, so that the forehead rests on the floor.
- Stretch the arms straight, in the front.
- While maintaining this pose, breathe deeply and relax.
- Stretches the thighs, ankles, and hips
- Reduces stress and fatigue
- Relaxes the upper body muscles
- Helps in digestion
- Elongates the lower back
Squats are useful for reducing obesity and good for losing weight.
- Keep the feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend the knees like sitting on a chair while holding the heels on the ground.
- While doing this, pull in the abs and keep the back straight.
- Push the hips back and lower as much as it’s comfortable.
- Inhale while lowering and exhale while rising.
- Improves blood circulation
- No cellulite formation
- Good for the digestive system
- The non-impact exercise does not strain the neck
- an be done anywhere, without any accessories
- Burns unnecessary fat and maintains body weight
Skipping is an ideal morning exercise for children and is great for the core and balancing.
- Choose the right rope — one that’s not too long and one that reaches nearly the shoulders when folded in half.
- The ropes should have handles that are comfortable to grip – neither too light nor too heavy.
- Stand up and hold the rope handles in both hands.
- Extend the hands and forearms a foot away from the body, at an angle of 45o.
- Step over the rope; the rope will hang behind.
- Without moving the hands, use wrists to swing it over the head.
- Hop over when the rope comes toward the front of the feet.
- Do not bend the knees to jump, but use the ankles.
- For a safe exercise, pick up a comfortable pace.
- Regulates the heart rate
- Tones the upper and lower body muscles
- Improves balance, agility, and coordination
- Prevents diseases like osteoporosis
- One of the finest exercises for weight loss
- Works out the whole body
[ Read: Warm Up Exercises For Kids ]
12. Overhead shoulder stretch
Stretching enables the muscles to perform better. This overhead shoulder and hand exercise is a perfect arm workout.
- Stand straight with the shoulders slightly stretched back, feet shoulder-width apart, and chest forward.
- Raise the left arm over the head, bending the elbow and placing the hand behind the neck.
- With the right hand, grasp the left elbow and gently give it a pull behind the head.
- Hold this stretch.
- Relax the body, repeat with the other arm.
- Improves the flexibility of the shoulder muscles, making them stronger
- Increases the range of movement
- Releases stress and enables proper circulation of blood
- Alleviates fatigue after a stressful day
- Can be done anytime and anywhere
Jogging is one of the best cardio exercises for children.
- Find a safe route to jog.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
- Start with a warm-up before jobbing.
- Pick up a slow but good pace.
- Keep the head straight, and look ahead.
- Don’t hunch the shoulders; keep the hips stable and don’t let them swing.
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Strengthens muscles
- Builds strong bones
- Helps maintain a steady body weight
- Provides freshness to the mind and reduces fatigue
Splits are the perfect flexibility exercise and great for the thighs in particular.
- Sit on the ground and stretch the legs out to the side.
- Bend forward stretching your arms, and bring the chest as near as possible to the floor.
- While straightening, take deep breaths.
- Stretches the thigh muscles
- Opens the hip flexors
- Develops perseverance
- Strengthens the muscles
[ Read: Benefits Of Aerobic Exercises For Kids ]
15. Side leg raise
Another great leg exercise, the side leg raise tones the hips and thigh muscles.
- Lie down on one side.
- Extend the arm close to the floor, and fold it at the elbow to support the head with the hand.
- Bend the other arm with the hand on the floor in front of the body.
- Place the legs one above the other and keep them straight.
- Slowly raise the top leg as high as possible by supporting the body with both the arms.
- Hold it, and return to the starting position.
- Builds glute and hip muscles
- Improves the adductor muscle group, which is essential for everyday activities like balancing, walking, and lifting things
- Makes movements more comfortable and stress-free
- Tones the thigh and hip muscles
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Reduces excess fat
These exercises help in the overall health and development of the child. Let the kid take a break two days a week. You may make a weekly schedule of exercise days and rest days.
Initially, your child may need encouragement. So, join them in the workout game as it is a great way to have some family time while staying fit. Let us know about your work-out experience with your kids, in the comment section below.