Exercise is a critical component of our Grow Fit initiative, and it serves so many purposes in addition to helping us stay fit. The right exercises can help us wake up in the morning, as well as relax us at the end of the day. Here are 8 exercises for your kiddos to help them get moving in the morning and then to slow everything down at night.
For waking up:
- Dancing – Turn up your kiddos’ favorite jams and dance out of bed! Not only does it get them energized for the day, but they also start it on a positive note (see what we did there?)
- Marching – Why walk around the house when you can march? This makes the boring task of walking from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen much more exciting and gets blood flowing as your kids march out the door to school.
- Jumping Jacks – Make this a math exercise by having kiddos perform their jumping jacks while counting to 10, 20 or even 30. It doesn’t take long to do a few of these, which makes it an easy and effective cardio exercise to do right before leaving the house.
- Knee Lunges – Resistance exercises are also important as they help build strength. Make it a challenge to have kids walk from their bedroom to the bathroom by doing walking “knee lunges,” and as they build strength, you can have them increase their distance little by little.
- Animal Races – This might not be the best exercise for school mornings, but on lazy Saturdays and Sundays, start the morning off with “Animal Races.” Challenge little ones to (safely!) hop across the room like a frog, walk like a dog or crawl like a crab. Use your kiddos’ favorite animals and get creative!
For getting to sleep:
- Walk Around Your Block – Studies show that children who are active throughout the day tend to fall asleep faster. A calm activity like going for a stroll through the neighborhood can help them get to bed in a shorter amount of time than if they had been relaxing and watching TV.
- Simple Stretches – After an active day, some very simple stretches can help kids unwind. Have them take a deep breath and reach their arms to the sky, bend over and touch their toes. The “camel” stretch is another good one to do. Have kids prop up on their hands and knees, and have them alternate arching their back, and then stretching it in the opposite direction, mimicking a camel’s hump.
- Yoga – Yoga is another fabulous workout to do at night to help kids relax their minds. Here are some poses for kids!
http://finefitday.com/2017/05/bedtime-stretch-routine-help-sleep.html; https://livehealthy.chron.com/morning-exercises-kids-9590.html; https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/good-morning-yoga-poses-jumpstart-kids-day; https://www.verywellfamily.com/simple-kids-stretching-exercises-1257070; https://mommypoppins.com/newyorkcitykids/25-exercise-games-indoor-activities-for-kids; https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5070/youth-fitness-cool-down-and-stretch; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/5887603/Exercise-helps-children-fall-asleep-faster-study-indicates.html