My kids have been doing some type of conditioning with me for years, and it is a good idea to start a healthy routine with them now. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be challenging and fun. Of course, exercise is good for their health, and developing a healthy habit now will be something we know they will thank you for later. The hardest part of exercise is making it a part of our life. Enjoying fitness as a family will bring you together and give you another way to support and encourage each other, especially if you keep positive.
Benefits of Youth Exercise
Just like us, staying active will help kid’s with depression, sadness, mood swings, weight gain, and confidence. As we know, these challenges are more and more common with today’s youth. These reasons alone are worth the battle of getting your kids active.
Ways to Fight Resistance
Yes, it can be a battle.
Mine have given resistance and attitude MANY times when I announced it was conditioning day. It took time, but it has improved. It has helped to keep it fun, change it up, and not take up too much time at first. There are days we may do a longer session, but not always. Usually when it is longer, I prepare them and maybe we have chosen to play a sport, or combine a few workouts.
Feedback should be encouraging and supportive. If you are constantly criticizing them and being negative, it will be very hard for them to look forward to exercising, and they might always have a negative feeling toward it. This is a habit for a lifetime we are working on. So keep it positive!
Be sure to talk to them about how they feel right after. Make a point to ask if they feel more energy, if their mood lifted a bit, or just a better feeling in general. We usually all feel good right after moving. Pointing this out will be something for them to look forward to next time.
For the younger kids up to age 9, obstacle courses are great. They need encouragement, fun and lots of movement.
As they get older, I try to give them more challenge and structure. They need it.
There are many options that you can do with your kids. I suggest changing it up and not always doing the same thing. Here are a few options below to start with, but there are many more ideas. Use your imagination, but also remember simple is fine. The main goal is to get them moving, then eventually to challenge them, while increasing their endurance and strength.
We try to do something cardiovascular to get their heart rate up at least 3-4 times a week, and resistance training (squats, push-ups, etc) 2-3 times a week.
Option 1 – Jogging or Walking
At least once a week, we try to go for a jog or walk. Our goal right now is a mile. You can start with a half mile and build up to the mile. We first walk for about 10 minutes to get warmed up, then stop and stretch our legs before we start jogging. After the mile jog or walk, we walk for about 5 minutes to cool down, and always try to do a plank and stretch to finish. This is the simplest option, going for a family walk several times a week is a great place to start.
Option 2 – Circuit Stations
Circuits can be challenging and fun for everyone. Create a circuit where there are 5-6 stations and the each of you go from station to station completing each exercise. You can go around the stations once, twice or three times. Here are some examples of stations you can use:
- Jump Rope (20-50 jumps)
- 10 Push-ups
- 20 Squats
- 20 Walking Lunges
- Standing Rows with tubing
- Stairs (we go up and down the stairs in our house 4-5 times)
- Step-ups (stepping up and down on a bench or other platform)
- Side Shuffles
- Plank (30 seconds – 1 minute)
- Ladder drills (running up and down a conditioning ladder, alternating the feet inside and outside the ladder rings)
- Run around cones (or zig zag, side to side)
- Hula Hoop (1 minute)
- Army crawls
- Medicine ball toss
- Trampoline jump (1 minute)
Option 3 – Sport Specific Drills
You can do drills that are specific to a sport. This make it more interesting and challenging. Just keep them repeating the drill to keep them moving and get their heart rate up. Some simple ideas we have used in the past.
- Have them run football routes over and over.
- Run laps while dribbling the basketball. Be sure to alternate hands.
- Relays can be run while dribbling and hand off to your partner for the next run.
- Use a tennis ball to practice ground balls off a wall, or off the garage.
- When you go for a jog, have them take a tennis ball, and bounce it in front of them to practice hand-eye coordination while they jog. We do this with a basketball too.
- Set up cones in a zig zag pattern, and have them run cone-to-cone, tapping the cone, and changing directions to run to the next cone. This can be a timed drill as well, to work to improve time.
Option 4 – Aerobic Activity
There are many other aerobic activity options you can use as a family. Some examples are:
- Long bike ride, or ride on trails
- Swim laps (this is great conditioning and awesome practice for swimming)
- Tennis (even just volleying the ball back and forth)
- Take a family walk
- Game of football, tag, or kickball
Most importantly, don’t give up if they give you a hard time. With consistency, eventually this will improve. After each workout, ask them how they feel. Usually, if you point it out, they will notice how much better they feel.
Also, planning the week ahead and letting them know what days you will be doing conditioning will also prepare them. Don’t just spring it on them when they are hanging around watching TV, unless you want to be sure you have a struggle.
You Should Be Participating
You should be participating with them, so that you get benefits too. This is good for you and such a good example for them, and honestly they really will love that you are doing it with them…even if they don’t say it. Sometimes I even ask them if they have ideas of what we can do for conditioning.
When you add one component of health with everyone, more will come, I promise. Once you feel stronger, less winded, more energy, and less stress, you will begin to think about improving other habits as well. You will get closer as a family working together, and keeping each other accountable in a loving way.
Join my free 30 Day Challenge with your family, for good, simple ideas to do each day for exercise and better health choices.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to help. This is something that means so much to me. We are in a different time with our kids. Anything that gets them moving, and you moving, takes you outside and off the devices is a good thing.
Give them loads of encouragement for every bit of what they do. Don’t look for anywhere close to perfection, they will get better and more comfortable over time.
Just encourage them to move, get fresh air, and be active. Movement and fresh air will do wonders for all of you. It is time well spent.