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The Best 10 Types of Exercise for Kids Who Get Too Much Screentime

The Best 10 Types of Exercise for Kids Who Get Too Much Screentime

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that technology use today for kids is out of control. We see kids everywhere glued to a screen.

For parents, it’s not hard to see the appeal. After all, nothing brings a sense of calm and peace faster than letting kids use technology. But the downsides of technology are many. We have out of control rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, ADHD and more.

The solution seems obvious. We need to get our kids off screens and engaging in physical activity.

In this post we’ll explore the best exercise for kids. More importantly, we’ll look at the ones they will actually love and want to do again and again.

The challenges of getting kids to want to exercise

Let’s face it. Telling our kids to put the Kindle or laptop down and go out and play is going to be met with resistance.

The online world of Minecraft, Roblox and YouTubbers is fun. It’s dynamic and colorful. It’s never boring.

So to find an exercise for kids that will entice them in that same way, we have to get creative. Think beyond walking the neighborhood, forget the treadmill and don’t even think about jumping jacks.

10 Best exercises for kids

Here are the 10 very best exercises for kids they will actually want to do all on their own:

1. Glow in the dark hula hoop

    I don’t think there’s any aspect of hula hooping that looks or feels like exercise. But guess what? Doing the hula hoop is a great cardio workout! It also helps significantly with coordination. Improved focus and concentration are side-benefits too.

    But to really make this something your kids will demand, opt for glow in the dark hula hoops! Everyone loves glow in the dark anything!

    You can also opt for color changing hoops too. Turn any dark room into an instant dance party for your kids and watch the calories burn!

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    Who knew an exercise for kids could be so much fun?

    2. Tug of war

      Kids love good playful competition.

      Tug of war builds excellent core strength and is great for biceps and calves. The whole time you’re building muscle and shredding fat you’re building team work too.

      For extra fun, get the kids tugging right after a good rain. They’ll get nice and muddy. Studies have shown that a bacteria that lives in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, has proven health benefits.[1]

      3. Martial arts

        Martial arts is a great exercise for kids! The right school can help foster and develop the following qualities in our kids:

        • Confidence
        • Focus
        • Resilience
        • Self-regulation

        Aside from those mental and emotional benefits, martial arts is often one of the most suggested activities for kids with ADHD.

        Martial arts is great at developing hand-eye coordination, core strength, balance and the ability to stay calm under pressure. Who couldn’t benefit from those things?

        Finding a great school can be a little confusing. So check out the best way to find a great martial arts school for your kids.

        4. Rock climbing

          Rock climbers are among some of the fittest athletes. You’re building incredible core strength and excellent arm and leg muscles. You also develop strategy skills in deciding on when and where to move next.

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          Even more importantly, rock climbing has been shown to have a positive impact on anxiety, self-esteem and depression.

          Do it safely as a gym or activity center near you.

          5. Swimming

            We all hear about how great of an exercise for kids swimming is. It’s great for flexibility, reducing inflammation and building bone mass. Most kids love to swim and play in the pool with their friends.

            But a true added bonus is that studies have shown that swimmers have a 50% lower death rate than other forms of exercise.[2] So instilling a love for swimming could literally lengthen your child’s life.

            These are only a few of the benefits. Check out all the outstanding benefits of swimming.

            6. Tennis

              Tennis builds great teamwork and self-confidence. It also is great for strategy; a real plus for kids used to playing video games.

              But the real benefits of tennis are some of the outstanding physical benefits:

              1. Hand-eye coordination
              2. Flexibility
              3. Fine motor control
              4. Balance

              As your child develops a love of tennis and grows their skill, this is truly something they will love the rest of their life.

              7. Gymnastics

                Most kids who do gymnastics are not likely to end up in the Olympics. But that’s totally OK! Gymnasts are among the fittest of all athletes.

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                Kids gain flexibility, coordination, improved cognitive function, self-discipline and amazing core strength.

                Because they are rolling, twirling and flipping with other kids their own age, it won’t feel like exercise for kids at all!

                Do look for a school that will impart the basics in a supervised manner. You don’t need a school that focuses on trying to develop professional gymnasts. We’re here to foster health in our kids and get them to find ways of having fun off the screens.

                8. Soccer

                  Soccer builds cardiovascular health while building flexibility and coordination. Most importantly, it fosters excellent teamwork skills and kids have a blast doing it.

                  Since soccer is played outdoors, you also get all the amazing benefits of your kids playing outside. They get more vitamin D and develop stronger bones.

                  Studies have shown that children who spend too much time indoors and on screens can develop nearsightedness.[3] So improved vision can actually be another benefit of soccer.

                  Chances are there’s a local soccer league near you. If not, consider starting one!

                  9. Wrestling

                    Unlike martial arts, wrestling is focused exclusively on 2 people. It builds incredible sensitivity since you’re trying to feel what your partner is doing through close contact.

                    It is among the best exercise for kids since it helps foster:

                    • Self-regulation
                    • Personal responsibility
                    • Self-defense skills

                    It’s also a great exercise for kids that won’t break the bank. You don’t need tons of special gear.

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                    Also, since wrestlers don’t typically try and go pro, it’s not one of those sports that slowly eats away all your free time and money.

                    10. Parkour

                      Who doesn’t want to look and move like a superhero?

                      Parkour, sometimes called freerunning, is a little bit gymnastics, a little bit martial arts, but altogether different. It’s closer to skateboarding but without the skateboard.

                      A lot of the contestants on shows like American Ninja Warrior have a parkour background. Parkour has become very popular over the last few years thanks to that show and the TV show Arrow.

                      Chances are you can find a parkour school near you. If not, inquire if your local gymnastics place offers a parkour class.

                      Parkour engages the mind with climbing and jumping over obstacles while building serious core strength and coordination.

                      The best exercise for kids will be one that seems cool and exciting and doesn’t feel like exercise (but is!) Parkour easily fits that bill!

                      Balancing screen time with exercise for kids

                      So we know that screens and technology are an integral part of today’s society. Screens are naturally a much bigger part of children’s worlds than any generation before. But we don’t have to throw our hands up in defeat.

                      As with much of life, we just need balance. The benefits to limiting screen time are numerous.[4] So finding an exercise for kids that gets them off the couch but also stimulates their minds is crucial.

                      You may need to try several of these to find the one(s) that really resonate with your kids. Once you find the right one, your kids will be begging to do it again and again. And you just might find their interest in screen time takes a back seat.

                      In this post we looked at some of the very best exercises for kids. Exercises keep the mind engaged while bringing tremendous physical and emotional benefit. Specifically we looked at exercises and activities that are never boring. Ones that can compete with the best apps and games, finally bringing balance to your home.

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Jeff Campbell

                      A husband and father trying to help other dads and moms navigate through the worlds of mindfulness, health, parenting, marriage/relationships& more.

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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                      Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                      1. Exercise Daily

                      It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                      If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                      Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                      If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                      2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                      Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                      One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                      This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                      3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                      Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                      Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                      Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                      4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                      Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                      The basic nutritional advice includes:

                      • Eat unprocessed foods
                      • Eat more veggies
                      • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                      • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                      Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                        5. Watch Out for Travel

                        Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                        This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                        If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                        6. Start Slow

                        Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                        If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                        7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                        Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                        My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                        If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                        I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                        Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                        More Tips on Getting in Shape

                        Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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