How to Inculcate Exercise Habits in Your Kids and its Benefits What!? Do kids need exercise? Why do they need some? They are already so active. In fact, I make my kid rest by handing over a video game to him. I definitely do not think that you are such a mother. But, you will not believe when I say that I have come across some of them. Such moms think that exercise is redundant for kids as they are active all the time. The present age is that of gadgets. It is hard to direct the attention of kids towards games and sports. Television, tablet, play station and such things are always on the mind of the kids. How difficult it is to make the kids focus on one thing for a longer period! This has led to the problem of obesity in many kids. Benefits of Exercises for Kids It is your onus as a parent to expose your kids to exercise. Exercising helps your kids to get in control of their bodies. Exercise is not just to shed some calories but it is something that helps sync your mind and body. And by exercise, I do not just mean that the kids perform crunches, squats and the like. Kids need to participate in organised physical activities. It can either be sports, yoga or even physical training. Kids who are physically active have stronger muscles. They are physically fit and are protected from certain lifestyle ailments like diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. Strengthens Immunity Kids who are active in exercises and sports have a strong immunity as opposed to their counterparts who are not involved in such activities. When kids are exposed to all kinds of weather through regular outdoor activities, they are less prone to cold, cough and different allergies. Their bodies learn to fight off ailments. Makes Muscle Stronger Many kids are more prone to injuries. They are injured at a faster rate than others. This is because their muscles are weak and are not able to face the grievance. If such kids take active participation in sports, then their muscles become stronger eventually. This is because organised sports require them to lift their own weight and even partake in muscle strengthening exercises. As a result, the muscles function properly. Prevents Obesity Kids who play video games and are more involved in sedentary activities face a higher risk of obesity. When kids are involved in sports, yoga, group exercises, aerobic activities, fast-paced dancing and the like, they do not face the risk of obesity. This is because their entire body gets worked out in such activities. Body fat gets dissolved through physical training and children are less likely to become overweight. Such kids are also protected from the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Improves Energy Levels The more you work out, the better you feel. And eventually, you are more energetic. When kids move out and get going on a regular basis, their energy levels improve and they do not feel tired while participating in high-intensity activities. Averts Heart Ailments When the bodies move, the heart and lungs benefit. Aerobic activities and organised sports reduce the levels of cholesterol and fat in the blood. This way, the heart functions better and the kids do not face the risk of high blood pressure or heart ailments. Fortifies Bones The bones of the kids are quite weak as compared to the adults. Hence, it is required that kids are given optimum food and exercise in order to make their bones strong. If your kids are involved in sports and weight-bearing exercises, their bones benefit for the long term. Exercise Helps Foster Emotional Well-Being Through exercise and physical activities, kids become independent and their self-esteem receives a boost. They do not shy away and take command of their behaviour. Some kids face depression and anxiety issues for unknown reasons. If such kids get involved in physical activities, they feel better and anxiety issues subside gradually. Kids can learn to focus better when they partake in organised sports. This is because high-intensity activities release endorphin in their body and they feel good because of this. If your kid is prone to sudden mood swings, then exercise on a regular level is something that can cure this habit. Studies prove that sports and training can calm down kids and improve their behaviour as well. How to Begin Exercise Habits in Your Kids If you think that your kid will never ever exercise, then you are wrong here. In order to grab the attention of the kids, you need to make exercise fun for them. Begin with few minutes of the dancing session on fast music tracks. When your kid starts loving dancing, choreograph the steps by including exercise in them. For instance, jumping jacks, twisting and such exercises are quite interesting. Do not overdo one form or either your kids will get bored out of exercise or they might get tired early. If your kid is not fond of dancing, you can direct him to sports. Choose basketball, football, cricket or any sport he or she is interested in. If you know someone who can formally train your kids, then get your kids enrolled in it. If possible, make sure that the exercise sessions are regular and your kid is having fun. How to Continue Kids get bored of anything easily. In order to keep their interest levels high, keep changing the form of exercise. For instance, you can get them trained in yoga for the first month and enrol them into aerobics in the next month. This way they do not only learn something but stay physically active as well. You can even take a break from formal training for your kids in between. Kids do not get bored and even do not get anxious about learning yet another skill. Get Going with Fun Exercises for Your Toddlers It is quite tough to involve toddlers into something related to exercise, right. However, I think that they will like fun activities that make them physically active as well. Toddlers are quick learners. If they like music, then nothing is better than this. Movements to peppy music numbers will get toddlers going. If you know kids in the same age group as your toddler, invite them to such activities. They will love to dance and this will even count as your workout. Kids who are shy and do not get actively involve respond to music in a positive manner. If possible, make a playlist of songs that the kids love. When kids dance in a group, they love such songs and even have fun. Toddlers even love activities that involve the ball. While catch and throw do not involve much exercise, teach your toddlers how to kick the ball and take it to a particular destination. This will make their entire body work out. Toddlers are quick to learn. When I perform yoga, my toddler follows my step. She has even learnt a couple of asanas as well. You can gather some of the friends of your baby and involve them in physical activities. Together with other mommies, we play hide and seek with the toddlers. Oranges and lemon too is great fun. We race together and even jump. Another great activity is crawling. Make some tents and ask your toddlers to crawl under them. When the kids finish playing, I ask them to aim the toys into the basket. This not only tidies up the room but also keeps the kids engaged for some time. Exercises for Older Kids While organised exercises and physical training is not required for toddlers, it is necessary for older kids. There is so much energy in kids that it needs to be re-directed in activities that are crucial for their body. As mentioned earlier, sports and physical training is quite good for older kids. Even aerobic activity is good as it makes the heart pump. One hour of sports or aerobic activity is necessary for kids. Let them take the steps instead of the elevator. Make them walk towards the mall rather than hire transport. You can organize hikes on a weekend. Hikes are a good way to explore things and even learn a few traits. If your kids do not get time on a daily basis, make sure that they do something on alternate days or at least thrice a week. Running, swimming or dancing too are fun as exercise. As the kids get older, involve them in activities that work up their muscles like push-ups, climbing rocks or even trees, tug-of-war, gymnastics and the likes. They can play group sports like hockey, basketball, volleyball, football as well. Concentrate on strengthening their muscles. Things to Keep in Mind Supplement your kids’ diet depending upon the activities they are involved in. While it is not necessary to increase their diet, however, they should have meals that give them the required energy. Take advice from their sports teacher or coaches on the type of food that should be given. Also, do not push the kids beyond a limit. Let them listen to their bodies while performing exercises. If they feel tired, let them rest and then resume, if they are ready. Let Your Kids Grow through Exercise I love the scene where kids are playing on the merry-go-round, participating in a race or playing hide and seek. The sound of their laughter while playing resonate my ears and I feel good. However bad my mood is, such a scene makes me happy. It is necessary for the healthy future of kids that parents say no to screen time and yes to outdoor activities for kids. Children become fit through exercise. They stay healthy and hearty when involved in exercises and activities that require high energy. And in the end, active kids are happy kids.