07 Apr 2014

As a child, I loved to play outside.  I wasn’t concerned with the weather or time of day, just playing. However, since my days as an adolescent (not to sound too old) many things have changed. Current technology like; iPads, iPhones, Playstations, and computers have become a distraction to children, dominating a child’s free time. The average child spends more time playing virtual video games compared with playing games outside, where actual physical activity is required. The world we live in is also a much different place, compared to a decade or so ago.  Parents have to consider the safety of their children when they go outside to play.  However, nine times out of ten, it is the former rather than the latter, which hinders children from being active.

Promoting exercise and activity should and can be integrated into a child’s life as early infancy. The benefits of encouraging a child to become and stay active are far reaching. A huge benefit of a child working out is that it develops, among other things, a human’s most important muscle-the brain! According to Global Post.com, “when your child is active, her cognitive abilities improve.” Now what parent wouldn’t want their child to have a better chance to succeed academically and reach their optimal potential?

Not only is exercising beneficial for a child’s brain, it also does wonders for their health; preventing many childhood ailments such as childhood obesity and diabetes, ailments that many children struggle with, but don’t have to. These ailments can be counteracted by becoming more active and eating healthy. According to Letsmove.org, the children’s healthy lifestyle initiative, started by first lady Michelle Obama, “over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. If we don’t solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.”

Those statistics are striking and quite freighting, encouraging your children to become more active will certainly reverse this trend. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day to become or remain physically fit, so start now! Although the weather is breaking and spring is upon us, there are a plethora of physical activates that children can do inside, besides video games, to stay fit and active.

Have your children try these!

Jumping rope: If you have a basement this is great, challenge your children to jump rope for an hour, taking breaks as needed, and then reward them with their favorite video game after. Jumping rope is a great way to develop lower body strength, which a child needs for running and jumping. It is also an awesome cardiovascular workout.

Jumping Jacks: This can be done anywhere in the home, as it doesn’t require much space. Make it fun, challenge your children to do as many jumping jacks as they can, after they rest, or the following day, challenge them to beat their previous record. This activity also promotes lower body strength and is also a great cardiovascular workout.

Wheelbarrow Races: Wheelbarrow Races can be fun, especially if you have multiple children in your household.  If not, a grown-up can help the child. Start by holding the child by the legs, encouraging him or her to push up with their arms. After they are supporting themselves with their arms encourage them to walk with their arms, moving themselves forward as the person supporting their legs walks with them. After your child gets the hang of this see how fast they can go, then challenge them to race friends and family! Wheelbarrow racing promotes upper-body strength and core strength.

Popcorn Push-Ups: Have your child get in the push-up position, then place a small bowl of popcorn on the floor, aligning the bowl close to where his or her mouth will be when they come down while doing a push-up. Making this as healthy as possible, and go LITE on the butter! Challenge your child to pick up one popcorn piece, with his or her mouth, with every push-up they do, of course they can eat the popcorn while doing the exercise or after! Push-ups are a great way to build upper-body strength.

Find out more about the “Let’s Move” program by going to, http://www.letsmove.gov/

You can also find more information on how physical activity helps develop your child’s brain here at http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/exercise-brain-development-elementary-children-5244.html


Schedule a session for your child with one of our CASS Fitness trainers today! And as always, stay active and remember, an active child is a happy child!


– Brittney

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