Go Exercise With Your Kids
Written by: Eric Broadbent
Hey you. Yeah you. Wait who? You! The one sitting there slouched in your seat. Put down the I-pad or computer mouse and step away from the electronic device. Put your hands high where I can see them, go get your kids, and start moving! Ok, well maybe not yet, but after reading this, maybe? Don’t make an excuse as to how busy you are, or how tired you feel. We’ve all been there and experience that same feeling every day. Life is busy, and hectic, get over it.
Everyone wants to look and feel a little better right? We all wish our kids went outside more too right? Why not kill two birds with one stone and do something with your kids? Your kid doesn’t need to be on 3 different travel teams and have private coaching on his day off. Hopefully he/she isn’t a couch potato either. This does seem to be the trend now a days though doesn’t it? Our kids are usually on either end of the spectrum. They are either super specialists in one sport(don’t even get me started on how ridiculous it is to specialize early on in a kids life), or they are borderline obese and contributing to that ever rising statistic of obese children in the US. This may sounds a little old school, but what happened to the days where kids just went outside and played? I drive through my neighborhood sometimes and it looks like a ghost town and I wonder to myself, where have all the kids gone? One time I got excited when I did finally see a kid walking back to his house but upon closer observation, I noticed he was carrying a pizza back home! Fortunately for you though, we can change this!
It comes down to a simple and maybe even somewhat creative decision that you can make on your end. Go talk to your kid and challenge them to a game of basketball or something else you haven’t done with them in a long time. What does your kid like to do? Hopefully you already know this, but if not, then ask them! Whether your child is old or young, here is a list of a few games/ideas you might consider doing with them.
Stroller Push Intervals (babies): I’m all for people going on a nice leisurely walk but as far as burning some calories and actually getting a good workout in, try ramping up the intensity with some intervals of running and walking or jogging and walking. Go hard for 10-30” then walk or jog easy for a while then get after it again. Your kid will love the increases in speed with the air flowing in their face. Make it fun and do a little countdown like it’s a space ship about to take off. Be creative!
Exercise Hide and Seek(younger kids): Same rules as typical hide and seek only every time you or your child counts, they have to do a different exercise. Each second of counting equals 1 rep of whatever exercise it is. You can also add a rule that once you find the person who is hiding, the seeker gets to give out an exercise to hider.
Follow the leader(younger kids): Another classic game. Same rules as the original game only you and your child can switch back and forth for the leader. Try and incorporate some jumping jacks and squats in to the game and watch in amazement at how perfectly your child can sit in to a deep squat!
Mosquito Tag(younger kids): You may need a few friends or family members for this one but it is loads of fun. Whoever is “it” is the mosquito. They have to put one hand on their face and put their other arm through the hole that they’ve made with their arm and extend it out. They then can only use that one arm as their “stinger.” If you get tagged then you have to stay frozen until someone saves you by “rubbing you” with calamine AKA tagging you to un-freeze you.
Animal Walks Series(all ages): Ok so it may be a little weird to do some animal walks with your 16 year old, but why does it have to be weird? Get comfortable with the exercises on the video below then challenge them to see if they can “hang.” Do these exercises for 10-20 meters each and you’ll definitely feel like you got a good workout in. With younger kids, make the animals noises as you go along and watch your kids laugh at you and have a blast at the same time as they join in.
Obstacle Course(all ages): Have you ever gone through an obstacle course at some point in your life and just felt completely euphoric afterwards? Well if not, then you are missing out! Set up some cool different activities in your yard or inside and time yourself and your kids going through it. Make it fun and creative! Try a three legged race where you and your kid are tied together. Throw a blind fold on your kid and tell them that you and him/her have to use only animal noises to communicate your way through part of the course. That sounds pretty ridiculous, but who cares, the goofier the better!
Scavenger Hunt(all ages): Come up with a list of items or clues that lead to different items that your kid and you have to collect. Maybe they come up with a list for you and you come up with a list for them? Try skipping or jogging from one clue or item to the next. The sky is the limit with this one.
Build a Fort(all ages): Lets be honest. Building a fort will never cease to be fun. Something about designing and building your own fortress and then hiding there can bring anyone to a smile. Sure this might not be the best form of exercise but at least you are moving around and interacting with your child.
Go to “Defy Gravity” or “Go Outside and Play Now” (all ages): If you haven’t been to either one of these places, you need to go, stat! Defy Gravity is a building filled with trampolines all over the ground. They also have a trampoline/dodgeball court, trampoline/basketball court, and an area where you can jump off of the trampoline and land in to a foam pit. After 10 minutes of jumping you will have the biggest grin on your face and your heart will be racing like never before. Go Outside and Play Now (awesome name by the way) is a place where you pay a flat rate and get to play sand volleyball, basketball, laser tag, go on a jungle gym and giant slides, manually drive a race car(you have to pedal to make the car go), and last but not least, a camp fire where you can roast marshmallows and hotdogs. Sounds pretty amazing to me.
Those are just a few of my favorite ideas for you to potentially use with your kids. Whether it’s climbing a tree or going on a hike in the woods, whatever it is, make time for it and do it. Make a day where you and your kids can’t use your electronic devices. I guarantee that will free up some time for you both. With the average life expectancy heading downhill for future generations and rising obesity rates, we have some tough times ahead of us. There is still time to change this and to feel better. The key is to get started, have some fun, and interact with your kids! After all, life is too short as it is, so exercising and bonding with your kids goes a long way at increasing the longevity and quality of your life.
Before joining the Empower Personalized Fitness TEAM, Eric worked as a Track and Field Coach at NC State for 2 years and at West Chester University for 2 years. He also trained as a professional athlete in the Decathlon and was a National Champion Indoors and Olympic Trials Qualifier in 2012. During that time he worked at a sports performance training center in Cary. Eric worked with clients as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, and also with athletes of various sports ranging from middle school track athletes to professional soccer players. One of the most influential jobs that Eric is proud of, and still does part-time, is his work as a life skills and fitness coach for the special needs population. The wide array of experiences that he has been a part of has shaped him into the personal trainer he is today. Eric is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist(CSCS), USA Weight Lifting Level 1 Coach (USAW), and USA Track and Field Level 2 Coach (USATF). In 2008, he received a Health and Physical Education degree from West Chester University, with a minor in coaching.