Cardio Exercises for Children

We, as adults, understand the importance of cardiovascular exercise to improve our fitness. But, what about children? Well, most children who are active get enough cardiovascular through daily play, but if your child doesn’t, below are some ways to help them get the cardiovascular exercise they need. And, no, were not going to suggest them going out running sprints. Instead, we have fun ways to help them get the exercise they need without even realizing they are working out.

Get your children out on some wheels. If your child enjoys skating, try some rollerblades. These are great way to get their heart pumping while having fun. You may even be able to find a local park or skating rink for them to skate in. Skateboards are another great option to give your children’s legs a great workout. They can also provide your child with the wonderful mode of transportation. In my area, there are quite a few skate parks that are popular. Scooters are another great option. Of course, you want one that is like powered rather than battery-powered, or you will defeat the entire purpose of it. Pedal cars are another great option for children and adults. They can really get your heart rate up as you pedal around the neighborhood or park. We tried these out at our last family gathering and really enjoyed them.

If your child is in one that enjoys cruising around on wheels, maybe they should try something like jump roping. Jump roping is a wonderful cardio activity. There are other jumping opportunities available as well, such as pogo sticks or trampolines. Climbing is another great option for getting a great workout. You don’t have to climb too high if you’re scared of heights to still get a good workout.

Even if your child is mostly stuck inside, for whatever reason, there are things they can do to get the cardiovascular exercises they need to stay healthy. Though I strongly believe in participating in real sports, there are some good indoor alternatives available, thanks to technology. The main thing is to get off the couch and of on your feet. If your child is inside most of the day, find video games that will promote movement.

Have Your Kids Workout with Zumba

Over the past several years, working out with Zumba has been all the rage. There classes in more than 125 countries worldwide with over 12 million people participating in one of the most fun aerobic workouts ever.

If you have been living under a rock for the past several years and don’t know what Zumba is, it is a dance program that uses routines and moves to burn calories to Latin inspired music. Zumba has really taken off because the class looks more like a party than working out. Is also a great social event that people of all ages can enjoy. What really makes Zumba grade is that it doesn’t matter what body type you have or your age, there is a Zumba class for you to help get you moving. It is easy to learn and a lot of fun.

Classes Available

The Zumba gold program focuses on the older population. This is also a popular class for people just starting with aerobic exercises, such as children. The music and dance of Zumba class is modified to better meet the needs of those new to Zumba and for older participants.

Zumba toning classes are great for anyone interested in strength training and body toning. Toning sticks are used in this class to target particular muscle areas such as the abs, glutes, legs, and arms. Zumba Gold toning focuses more on beginners and older participants.

Classes for Children

Though most Zumba classes are open to adults and children alike, there are some Zumba programs specifically catered to children. These classes are more tailored to the high energy levels of children, their attention span, coordination, and muscle development.

Specialized Classes

There are a few classes that are more specialized. One of my favorite is the Aqua Zumba class. This is like your normal Zumba class, but done in the water. I did Aqua Zumba a lot when I hurt my knee since it is easier on the body. Zumba circuit training is great if you want an intense workout in a short amount of time. Participants move from station to station to complete strength and prescribed cardio routines. Zumba Sentao is an option for anyone wanting to focus on their core strength. In this class, you use your body’s weight and shares to improve your core stabilization, endurance, balance, and strength.

Regardless of which class you choose, Zumba is great for you and your children. It is one of the few workouts my gym allows children to participate in with me, so we turn it into a family event. Give it a try and see what you think about Zumba.


Children and Boredom

Every parent I know hates when their children say they are bored. These days, parents tend to feel guilty when their children are bored. Parents have advice being tossed their way every day on how to keep their children engaged. The message parents are being given is that they must fill their children stay with lots of things to keep them entertained. I know how that feels. For a long time, I felt guilty when my children said they were bored, feeling like I needed to fill the void. We had play dates, gymnastics, soccer practice, music lessons, and more to fill their lives with.

It didn’t take long to discover that I wasn’t alone in this. We, as parents, completely exhaust ourselves running around with their children to check off our to do list for creating children that are well rounded. Granted, I’m not arguing that children don’t need stimulation. But, when we are constantly filling their schedules with activities, we rob them of creating their own fun and the gift of boredom.

First, though, we need to stop seeing boredom as a bad word. Our children need time to be bored. Our culture tells us that we need to constantly be stimulated with activities, smart phones, tablets, television, and whatever else entertains us. Children these days don’t have a chance to be bored.

In reality, boredom is simply idle time. It isn’t something we parents need to cure. Instead, we need to embrace it as a time for the child to be creative and entertain themselves. This helps to build creative thinkers who are independent and confident. As you allow your child to be bored, you will see their curiosity and imagination thrive. It will be hard in the beginning, though, because children are use to us entertaining them constantly.

Sure, this is going to be difficult in the beginning. When children are not used to being bored, it will feel uncomfortable to them initially. You may need to give them some ideas on things to do to get them started filling their own time. Perhaps you can offer them some props and see where they go with it. With summer coming up, you will have plenty of opportunities to practice letting your children entertain themselves. Don’t stress, mom, they will figure it out and your family will be all the better for it.

Children and the Inability to Sit Still

The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, has been showing a rise in the percentage of youth diagnosed with ADHD. In 2003, the percentage of children with ADHD was 7.8%. In 2011, that percentage went up to 11%. There are many reasons for the rising diagnosis, from awareness of the condition, to the changes in medical treatment and the criteria it is diagnosed by. I have another theory, though.

If you weeks ago, I had a complete stranger call me out of the blue. She began to pour her heart out to me explaining that her six-year-old son was getting in trouble at school because he cannot sit still during class. His school wanted to have him tested for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Being a mom who volunteers a lot in the community, I have seen this become a very common problem in our society.

This young child’s mom continues to explain how her son comes home from school each day with yellow marks. The rest of his class screen marks almost every day for their good behavior. That means this child, every day, is reminded how unacceptable his behavior is because he is unable to sit still throughout the day.

His mother begins to cry as she tells me how his self-esteem has plummeted because of his need to move around. He began telling his mother that he hated himself and was a failure.

It’s amazing how many more children over the past decade had been labeled as having issues with attention. One of my friends is a local elementary teacher and told me that, on a good day, at least eight of her class of 22 students has trouble paying attention. All the while, it is expected for children to sit longer periods of time. Even children as young as kindergartners are being required to sit during circle time for 30 minutes and some classes.

Here are my thoughts: children are made to stay in an upright position all day long. You rarely find children having fun by spinning in circles, climbing trees, rolling down hills. Teeter totters in merry-go-round’s are no longer found. Schools have shortened recess times to meet their increased educational demands. Children play outside a lot less these days because of hectic schedules, liability issues, and the fears of their parents. In a nutshell, children don’t move near as much as they should, and it is creating more and more problems in the classroom.