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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 July 10, 2020

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                      Boundaries are limits

                      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                      • When do you feel disrespected?
                      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                      • When do you want to be alone?
                      • How much space do you need?

                      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                      Sample language:

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                      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                      Final Thoughts

                      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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