Fun Ways To Get Your Kids Moving That’s Really Good Exercise For You Too!

The real question is: can you keep up?


Wanita Nicol |

Of all the upheaval that came with lockdown, homeschooling has to be the most humbling. Repeat after us: “I will never dis a teacher again.” Who knew imparting knowledge to a young mind could be so hard and kids could be such little sh-monsters? But it’s not all solving for X and building lizards out of egg boxes. Kids are also missing out on sport, a key part of their healthy development. And even with the gradual return to the classroom having started, it will likely be a while before they hit the soccer field again. These tips will help you get your mini-me moving. And they’re more fun than parallelograms, we promise!

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Get The Timing Right

Ten minutes of chasing the dog around the garden isn’t going to cut it. Kids and teens between the ages of 6 and 17 should get a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, according to Anca Wessels, a Momentum Multiply biokineticist and sport massage therapist. “These activities should include a combination of aerobic movements, strengthening exercises and stretches. A variety of exercises is essential to ensure a variety of muscles being used,” she says.

Make It A Game

Taking a ball down to your local field and playing a game of soccer or touch rugby with your kids is an obvious way to get a good cardio workout in. But there are loads of other kids’ games you can play at home that are just as effective. Hopscotch doesn’t sound quite as playful when you describe it as a “unilateral plyometric exercise” but that’s exactly what it is!

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It’ll get your heart rate up and improve your balance and proprioception. Practising handstands or playing “wheelbarrow” and “horsey” are fun ways for the family to build strength. Games like Twister help improve flexibility.

Use Props For Little Kids

If your children are small, you’ll know how fascinated they are by bright colours and different shapes. Raise your hand if you can recite Peppa Pig or Doc McStuffins! So use those elements to get them excited about exercise. “A great idea is to attach strings to different coloured socks or balloons and hang them at different levels from the ceiling or outside patio. Play a game of jumping or punching to touch all the different heights,” suggests Wessels.

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If you’re feeling extra creative, you could create an obstacle course that has the little ones crawling under tables and hopping over couch cushions to reach the finish line.

Do An Actual Workout

If your kids are still in that wonderful phase when they think you’re a superhero, rather than a sad old loser, they probably look up to you and want to imitate everything you do. That includes your workouts. ‘Cause you’re obviously still working out, right? Incorporate some kid-friendly online workouts into your exercise programme. We’re enjoying the kiddies’ workout on Virgin Active’s Facebook page and of course, have you even been in lockdown if you haven’t done PE With Joe?

Bribe Your Teens

We know – it’s hard enough trying to get a teenager to change his socks, never mind do a workout. So you may need to compromise your integrity and resort to old-fashioned bribery (or as Wessels calls it, ‘incentives’). Set weekly exercise targets for lazy teens.

READ MORE: Are You Emotionally Fit? How To Look After Your Emotional Wellbeing.

If they hit the target, they get a reward: Online shopping vouchers, currency in their favourite game or data could be powerful incentives. Another tactic to try: Think like the enemy (read: your teen). Practising long, intricate TikTok dance challenges can be a great workout.

Related: 5 Tik Tok Challenges That Will Test Your Fitness

Home Phys Ed Class

Many schools have been adding phys ed to their virtual curriculum during lockdown, but if your kids don’t have a set programme, try this one from Maritzburg College boys’ school in KZN. The kids should do the workout twice a week and a 1-2km run on a third day. Feeling a little too comfortable on that couch of yours? Lace up your tekkies and join them! It’s aimed at high-school children, so it’ll work just great for you.

WARM-UP

Walking Lunges  x 12

Glute Walk x 10

Walking Hamstring Stretch x 10

Air Squats x 10

Door Frame Hold 3 x 30 sec

Shoulder Crossover Stretch 2 x 30 sec

MAIN WORKOUT

Pushups

4 x 30 sec/30 sec (Work for 30 sec, rest for 30 sec)

Rest 2 min

Air Squats

4 x 30 sec/30 sec (Work for 30 sec, rest for 30 sec)

Rest 2 min

Situps

4 x 30 sec/30 sec (Work for 30 sec, rest for 30 sec)

Rest 2 min

Burpees

4 x 30 sec/30 sec (Work for 30 sec, rest for 30 sec)

COOL-DOWN

Hold each of the following static stretches for 30 seconds on each side.

Hamstring Stretch

Standing Quad Stretch

Static Glute Stretch

Doorframe Chest Stretch (Same as warm-up)

Shoulders (Same as warm-up)

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