A recent study shows that for the first time in history children may not outlive their parents due to lack of movement and growing obesity rates. As a parent of two boys this is somewhat concerning, however I’m pretty confident that my boys are on the path to changing that statistic.
My mom jokingly refers to us as “the workout family.” Don’t get me wrong, she is very proud of us and really thinks it’s neat that we stay so active, but I do have to admit that every time she visits, someone is showing or talking about a workout move, or the latest WOD (workout of the day)…so yeah she’s right, we really are the workout family!
After hearing this latest statistic, I got to wondering what do other families do to keep their kids active? When or how did the world change from kids being outside all day long playing hard and coming home hungry, to a generation that spends most of their days sitting, engaged in technology and eating a massive amount of overly processed junk?
When I was a kid I spent a lot of my childhood in Hawaii, so being active was pretty easy for me. If we weren’t at the beach, we were outside playing, riding our bikes, and there was this one time my sister made me climb the mountain in back of our house. ( Yes, it was an actual mountain with steep cliffs and all kinds of sharp rocks; plus it was a hot mid-day hike in Hawaii AND I was only 10 years old) Long story short, I didn’t die, although I thought I was going to at the time. We would always go on explorations of all kinds, including crawling in sewer pipes, and setting up forts in the woods, even playing hide and go seek until the sun went down.
We didn’t think about exercise then, unless it was PE and we were competing in the presidents challenge. Ha! (Couldn’t do one pull up then. I have come a long way.) I also remember playing hard during recess, if I wasn’t chasing boys, I was playing tether ball or coming up with a dance routine with my friends for our talent show.
Raising kids now is a completely different world. They pretty much sit all day in school besides a short lunch break. Then of course there’s technology. It’s not just video games anymore or the TV. There is constant access to phones, computers ,notepads, kindles and more. It’s crazy how much stuff can get in the way of movement.
With all that said, Bob and I make sure our kids move. They love to skateboard, and jump all over things. They think Target is an obstacle coarse. The little red balls at the front of the store turn into a competition of who can try and leap from one to the next. Shopping carts become stand up scooters that they use to race in the parking lot. This comes so natural for them. It’s almost primal for them to move their bodies, jump, climb, push, and race. It’s really pretty cool to watch. Ok, sometimes it’s a bit annoying when you’re on a mission for just a few things in Target and the kids are behaving like wild animals, but while there is a time and a place for things, I’m happy to see them move.
Lot’s of kids get exercise through sports these days, which it awesome! Since our boys were little they have always played a sport. Soccer, tae kwon do, wrestling, lacrosse, and track. We have always done our best to get them to exercise, including some fun family workouts. What really has made a huge difference in their endurance, strength, and confidence is CrossFit. Yes, my kids CrossFit. Of course their workouts are scaled or varied from the adult workout. This is the one activity that they have really taken a strong interest in. They go about 2-3 days a week, and it has really made a positive difference in their lives. For example, if they are having a rough moody teenage day, after an hour of working out they are in a much better mood! They appear to be more confident, and even make better food choices because they know that what they eat will effect how they perform, and the results they achieve. Remember I have an almost-16 year old so he is all about the muscles. 🙂
Don’t get me wrong, they do like their technology, phones, computers, TV, and they also won’t turn down a candy bar if offered (they aren’t crazy) but they have made several health conscious decisions that are helping them to be healthy and happy growing boys. I must say I am honored to be their mom and to be titled “the workout family”.
Below the questions are a few suggestions and family workout routines you can do with your kids to have fun and get moving. Make sure they have plenty of water.
Do you think kids get enough exercise these days?
What is one healthy lifestyle change you think families could incorporate into their kids lives?
Should schools offer more recess and more time to get moving?
Family Circuit Workout at the park: (Ages 8 and up)
Warm up for 5 minutes. (easy jog, high knees, butt kicks, windmills, easy pushups and leg swings)
Circuit 1: Walking Lunges around the park. Or you can do them in place 20 reps on right leg, 20 reps on the left leg
Circuit 2: Monkey Bar pull ups or just practice hanging if you cannot do a full pull up
Circuit 3: Step ups on a bench or even on the steps that are on a wide platform on the jungle gym. You can perform 20 on each leg or if you are daring jump up on the platform with both feet. Make sure the surface is stable and land with both feet on the platform stand up once you land and step down one foot at a time.
Circuit 4: On the bench or even the bottom of a slide do 15 triceps dips.
Circuit 5: Bear Crawl or Spider man crawl around the playground or find a 50 meter distance and crawl to the end.
You can divide each station up with your family or do the circuits together.
Family workout in the Driveway. ( Ages 10 and up)
All you need is a set of dumbbells (light weight for kids) a ball or slam ball, and a jump rope.
Warm up for 5 minutes
Each family members goes to a station. Switch stations every :30 ( use a timer or take turns volunteering to keep time.)
Station 1 – Air Squats
Station 2- jump rope
Station 3- shoulder press with dumbbells
Station 4- Slam ball slams if you have one. Slam the ball into the ground, pick it up in a squat and repeat. If you don’t have a slam ball, use a light ball like a basket ball. Squat down and toss the ball up above as you come out of the squat. Catch the ball and squat again. For kids that might not have coordinated movements, they can just hold the ball to their chest and squat, then press the ball overhead when they stand up.
Ideas for younger kids and parents. Ages 3 to 7
Practice hopping on one foot
Duck, Duck Goose.
Card game. With on playing card toss it to your child and tell them to try and catch it. If they do catch it, then tell them to try and catch it with one hand, then standing on one leg. This is great fun for balance and agility.
Push me mommy: With you toddler in a swing, give them a big push and quickly squat before they swing back. This is a butt kicking work out for mom.
Ball Chase. With two big fitness balls, race from one side of a large room or yard to the other.
Balloon Game: Get in a circle with one balloon and keep it in the air. Add enhancers. Like if the ball touches the ground you have to do 5 jumping jacks. Or every time you tap the balloon do 5 push ups and try not to let the balloon land on the floor.
Stroller workout for Mom. Go for a 3 to 4 mile run walk. But add some weight like dumbbells at the bottom of the stroller. Create a fun circuit for yourself as you get you and baby outside for fresh air. Every half mile stop and do 50 squats. The next half mile use the weights and do 3 sets of 15 bicep curls, and shoulder press. The last half mile do 50 walking lunges pushing the stroller.
If you are interested in having your child participate in a Kid CrossFitt class, check with your local CrossFit box. If you live in the Harford county area in Maryland. Check out CrossFit Bel Air. Any box that offers a kids CrossFit program must be certified with a Kids Crossfit Certification.
Also, trampoline parks, roller/ice skating rinks, zip line courses, swimming pools and bowling all offer a fun way to get out and play together. Join your kids and soon enough you will be role modeling for your kid.