While many New Year’s resolutions focus on adults losing weight, a health focus is just as important for kids. Did you know that kids need at least an hour a day of physical activity? While they might get some of that at recess, try these three exercises with your kids at home to help strengthen their muscles.
1. Plank for core strength
If you’ve ever taken a yoga or core strength class, you probably know how to do a plank. Have your child lie on his or her stomach and then push up with the forearms and toes on the floor. Keep the body straight, sucking in the belly and tightening the glutes (butt muscles). Start by holding the pose for 30 seconds, resting for 30 seconds, and then holding again. Try it three times.
After practicing for a few weeks, work up to holding the plank for 45 seconds and eventually a minute. Make it a competition for more fun—who can hold it the longest while still keeping their body straight?
2. Push-ups for arm and core strength
If your child is younger or overweight, start these push-ups with knees on the floor. Keep the arms just wider than shoulder-width apart, and keep the knees in line with the hips. Suck in the belly and push up and down, bending the elbows. See if your child can do 12-15 push-ups in a row. Try three sets of these 12-15 reps during each session.
When 15 reps become too easy, have your child do push-ups with toes on the floor (no knees), and eventually increase the number of push-ups he or she does each time.
3. Walking lunges for leg strength
First, start with a regular lunge. Stand straight with feet together and step forward with your right foot, bending both knees to about 90-degree angles. Your back knee will be closest to the ground but won’t touch, and the front knee should be lined up with your ankle.
To move into the walking lunge, step forward with your left foot, moving into a lunge with the left leg (same as the instructions for the right leg lunge above). Keep moving down the hall for 20 total steps (10 with each leg). Do this exercise of 20 steps three times.
Once this exercise becomes easier for you and your child, add small hand weights of one to three pounds for an additional challenge.
Regular exercise helps your child regulate stress, feel happier, and be healthier. Take the challenge and do these three easy exercises with your child every day for a month and see how much better both of you feel.
Do you have a favorite exercise to do with your child? Tell us in the comments below.