Children’s heart rates are higher and their blood pressure is lower both at rest and during exercise, and they may have difficulty staying focused or following directions. They may tire more easily and are more sensitive to heat. Make sure when they exercise outdoors in summertime, they have a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. Avoid prolonged strenuous activity in hot humid weather. Several bouts of 15 minutes are fine (think tag, duck duck goose), rather than continual or steady-state activity some adults may prefer--so make sure to take breaks as needed.
Preschoolers especially love games like duck duck goose etc. Children ages 3-7 may enjoy this activity course I made up which is a kind of mash-up of hopscotch and mother-may-I: (See picture above.)
With some sidewalk chalk, make a regular hopscotch board, at the end draw an arrow to a box and inside the box, write an exercise like 4 crunches…then draw a dotted line and write "bunny hop" or draw a bunny face...to a circle with another movement direction like "spin around" and draw another line to another box or circle or star or other fun shape with more directions like "frog leaps," "baby steps," "dribbling a ball," "cartwheels etc." You get the idea. For more creative, less athletic types, I even have them “be a flower” and put their body into a position where they are acting like a flower getting watered--use your imagination!
The kids like the mystery of what you will come up with and the surprise of new movements. When they tire of it, have them make up their own course for each other or for you to do. It will make them laugh to see you try their creation.
When considering which exercises are appropriate for children and adults, we have to think about things which are fun—which means they’re more likely to stick with it and do a lot of it often.
Here are some ideas for activities you can do with older children :
· inline skating
Helping your child exercise and eat right now may help prevent serious health concerns later in life such as diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and heart disease. Exercise is also great for mental focus and emotional health. Remember that children will be more likely to participate in exercise if they see their parents and teachers doing it since they are their role models…so get out there and move!
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