Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Kids Fitness: Winter Workouts for Kids, Part 1

When done correctly, shoveling snow is a competitive sport
I’m assistant coach for my 8-year-old son’s indoor soccer team. After the last game a parent asked the coach about workouts her son could do to get in better shape. Coach Tim suggested bike riding and going for walks. He was on the right track, but considering that it was the middle of January, -10 C outside and the ground was covered in snow, he wasn't very helpful.

With today’s sedentary, electronic lifestyles, it seems that even two practices and a soccer game a week aren’t enough to keep kids in shape. The Canadian winter doesn’t help. Too many kids park themselves in front of the computer or Xbox from October to May, with some extending the gaming season through the summer. Yet, winter is the favorite season of my 12-year-old son Mack and myself. Here are some activities that will keep you and your kids moving—both inside and outside—through the snowy months. Note that I said you and your kids. Nothing motivates kids to get active like seeing their parents get off their butts.
  1. Shovelling snow—Just like swinging a kettle ball over your head is an old-school full-body workout for adults, shovelling snow is an old-school full-body work out for kids. Show them how to lift with their legs and they’ll work their calves, quads, hams, glutes, abs, lats, delts, traps, pecs, tris, bis, and pecs , as well as build their aerobic fitness. You can turn shovelling snow into a game by challenging them to see who can make the biggest pile of snow by the end of the winter, or turn it into a family quest to build a single, giant pile.
  2. Wall climbing—According to the February 2013 issue of Outside, wall climbing is kinda sorta maybe displacing zumba as the next big thing in fitness. Even if you don’t climb yourself, you can take an hour course to learn how belay your kids and crawl up the wall yourself.
  3. Swimming—Nothing beats swimming laps in a lesson for fitness, but it’s not very fun. If your kids balk at swim lessons, take them to nearest wave pool for an hour or two each week. You’ll both burn off a ton of calories and build your aerobic base. This is perfect for days when it's way to cold to go outside.
  4. Tobogganing—Tobogganing combines all the benefits of stair climbing with speed, crashes and laughing. Except that those crazed fitness addicts usually do stairs in skimpy running clothes and lightweight running shoes. Your kids will be wearing bulky snow pants and trudging through snow and ice in heavy winter boots, adding to the fitness value.
  5. Skating—I told my kids that in Canada, everyone needs to know how to do three things: ride a bike, swim and skate. This is an activity that they’ll be able to do their entire lives. My 78-year-old mother still skates once a week, and she’s one of the youngest people I know.
Go to Kids Fitness: Winter Workouts for Kids, Part 2 for five more winter workouts for kids.

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