Even though children and youth enjoy playing, many are not getting the necessary amount of exercise recommended daily. Fitness training for your kid(s) may be something you’ve never considered. However, it is an important activity to include in your child/teenager’s life.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine in the Optimum Performance Training for Youth course (which I’ve completed), obesity and diabetes II are the top risk factors for youth. So, if the only reason you start having your child do fitness training is to avoid one of the above diseases or risk factors, that’s a more-than-good-enough reason.
In this post I’m going to talk about children and youth. Youth is typically considered ages 10-20. Structured exercise can begin at age 4!
Here are 7 ways to help your child become more active:
1. Schedule fun fitness training or sport activity 3-5 days per week.
2. Get the entire family involved with activities such as family hikes, bike rides, tennis, or swimming. Support from family is very helpful in the success of developing positive fitness and eating habits.
3. Help your child be active every day. Even those days that are not for fitness training or sport, go for a walk or do something fun that’s active with your child.
4. Set up a time for your child and his or her friend(s) to have fun in the park or mess around in the yard – anything as long as you know they’re being safe, active, and having fun!
5. Parents will love this one! Set up a schedule for your children to do weekly cleaning and certain chores every day. Yard work is a great workout and task. Vacuuming or mopping floors and washing the car are some great activities. It may sound difficult, but you’d be surprised at how kids and teens can enjoy chores when they are made fun!
6. Athletic children and youth involved in sport can experience added improvement in their sport and prevent injuries with fitness training. As an example, ice skaters can really benefit from off-ice training such as sports conditioning, Pilates, jump, Zumba, balance work, and stretching.
Ice skaters tend to specialize in their sport at young ages, so it’s all the more important to develop strength and flexibility throughout the body to prevent muscular imbalances and injuries later in life. With fitness training added into figure skaters’ weekly routines, skaters can enjoy their sport even more and feel great!
7. Look for youth fitness programs. Check out programs such as Zumbatomic (Zumba for kids), fitness classes, personal trainers, and sport-specific training for youth. Schools, churches, and community centers can have information on fitness programs, too.
Be creative! Physical fitness is a lifestyle, so the earlier it’s started the more enjoyable it can be and the more likely it’ll be a positive habit for life. Sometimes youth behavior can improve with fitness training as youth begin to have goals and use their energy positively. As I said earlier, youth who are already in sport can experience added improvement in their sport and prevent injuries. Watch your child develop and become excited as his or her health and fitness improves!
My parents encouraged whatever interest my brother and I had, especially in sport or activity. We did ski racing, roller skating, ice skating, dance, karate, and many other sports. We also began doing fitness training for our skating together with a personal trainer at times and in sport-specific classes for me as early as the age of 8.
This developed a love of health and fitness for me for life and helped me know later on that I wanted to get my personal training certification and Pilates certification. I cannot thank my parents enough for encouraging activity and sport in my youth and throughout my life. A healthy lifestyle is one of the best gifts you can give your child! 🙂
Note: If you live in San Diego or are visiting the Southern California area, check out the summer fitness and artistic classes for youth and adult skaters at the Kroc Center.
Photo Credit: Photo by Giulio Bernardi at Flickr Creative Commons.