With limited access to gyms, team sports, and playgrounds, the whole family can start to get restless in isolation. Kids have a lot of extra energy and they can channel it into something productive. On the other hand, getting no exercise for a long time can cause teen depression. A sure-fire way to burn up your kids’ pent-up energy and also keep in shape during this lockdown is to start a daily family workout routine.
Having your kids partake in your own exercise routine is healthy for more than just the body. It also serves as a fun bonding opportunity for the entire family to relieve stress. Another plus is that working out together as a family lays a foundation of good fitness habits for kids to follow later in life.
From dance parties and jumping jacks to squats and push-ups, check out some fun exercises the whole family can participate in:
First the Warm-Up
It’s wise to start all physical exercises with a warm-up. It keeps your body supple and prepares your muscles for rapid blood flow. This way, you can reduce stress-related damage to your body such as cramps, tightness, or excessive soreness.
Begin the family warm-up with easy and slow movements to help the body gradually adjust to the rise in your heart rate. Later, speed up those movements and add some impact exercises, like jumping. Warm-up for at least 5 to 10 minutes before the workout.
Here are some kid-friendly warm-ups you can do at home:
A powerful, stress-relieving exercise.
- Stand with arms fixed to your side and legs wide apart.
- From your waist bend down so that the left-hand touch the right foot.
- Stay like this and count to 10. Release.
- Repeat with the right hand.
While walking, raise your knees high into the air. Add arm movements to intensify the routine and speed up your walk to a jog.
When you want to intensify your warm-up, add jumping jack. You could do this for about 3 minutes. Stretch your legs and arms out to your sides like the starfish and jump. As you land, return your arms to your sides.
Related Article: Why I do jumping jacks first thing in the morning
Dance for a couple of minutes and let your children move to the music. To add more fun to this exercise, choreograph an easy dance to a favorite song and make it part of the pre-exercise ritual.
Now Let’s Get To the Main Workout
You could do the squats together with your children, then individually.
The Together Squat
Parent and child should face one another, hold hands, and squat for a few seconds and stand back up. Do this 20 times
Release your child’s hands and let your child follow your lead. Each person should stand with their feet a bit wider than their hip-width. Next, link their hands together at the base of their head.
Keep your toes pointing forward and squeeze your buttock muscles (or glutes). Next, bend down and push back your hips into a squat, all this while, let your back be straight and chest lifted.
Stand up and repeat the steps as many times as you want. Throughout the exercise, keep your buttock muscles or glutes squeezed or engaged.
Dogs usually seem extremely happy whenever they do this stretch. Why not use a similar down-dog pose to help your kids enjoy those positive feelings that might remind them of a family pet?
More importantly, it strengthens the arms and legs, energizes the body, and works well for kids with digestive problems.
- Have everyone on all fours with knees and hands in a tabletop position.
- From there, everybody should straighten out their legs and stretch butts up towards the sky even as they press down on the ground with their “paws”.
- Relax your heels on the ground and lengthen the backs of your legs.
- Stay for 5 deep breaths or more.
- You could make the exercise interesting and lively by asking everyone to bark like silly, happy dogs on the exhale!
This deceptively simple exercise is effective in strengthening your core, gives better posture, reduces backache, and increases your muscle definition among others. In doing this exercise, you could have a friendly competition to see who can hold the pose the longest!
30 seconds is a good start for your small ones and maybe some adults in the house too. If the entire house continues with this exercise every few days – within a month, your kids could be able to stay for about 2 minutes!
- Lie face down on the floor, then lift your body using the elbows and toes.
- Keep your neck and back straight and hold the position for as long as you can.
This works the muscles of the chest and it also helps make the back flexible.
- Lie on your belly.
- Bend your arms and put your palms face down on the ground next to your shoulders.
- Look up. Next, straighten your arms to lift your chest.
- Press your palms to the ground and take in a deep breath to expand your ribcage.
- Make this a game and see who can hold the position longer than the rest.
Sit-up is one of the bodyweight exercises that help tone the body while giving the body functional strength. It also works out many body muscles including the abs.
- Lie flat on your back.
- Bend your knees and let your feet be hip-distance apart.
- Your hands should be placed at the back of your head with your elbows trained outward.
- Pull your belly button inward and raise your torso up to meet your thighs.
- Return to your starting position and repeat as many times as you can.
Note: Kids may need someone to gently hold their feet to the floor when they’re doing their sit-ups.
Adding bear crawls to your workout is an excellent way to improve hip mobility. As you crawl, your hip joints go through a range of motion which makes a flexed hip become fully extended.
Like the plank exercise, bear crawl also works your body’s core muscles.
- Everybody should gently go on all fours, arch their back like a bear. Next, race one another across the room to see who is fastest bear of the bunch.
Push-ups are great at building the upper body strength. When you pull in your abdominal muscles during the exercise as well, it will also build up your core and lower back.
- To get started, pair everyone present into two and let each pair position stay 1 meter apart.
- Everybody should assume the push-up position, lift themselves up, and touch their partner’s opposite hand.
- Lower your body back into the push-up pose and come back up again to touch hands.
- Repeat as many times as possible. The pair that stays the longest is the winner.
Another variation of push-up for tiny tots.
Lunges is a popular training exercise people use to sculpt, tone, and strengthen their bodies.
- Take a step forward with your right leg.
- Let the back knee of your left leg touch the ground.
- Make sure the front knee of your right leg doesn’t move past the toes.
Home Workouts Don’t Have to be Boring
I hope these exercises bring joy and fitness to your family during these quarantine days. They’ll boost your mood, use your extra energy, and bring everyone closer together.