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Mar 18, 2012

Workouts Designed For Kids

Childhood obesity is at an all-time high in America. Experts say the only way to help keep kids healthy and fit is to encourage them to do physical activity from the time they are small children.

The percentage of children and adolescents who are defined as overweight has nearly tripled since the early 1970s. One in five children in the United States is overweight. About 15 percent of children and adolescents ages 6 to 9 years are seriously overweight. And, over 10 percent of preschool children between ages 2 and 5 are's up to the parents to help the children by being role models. She explains that as parents, we are our children's most important and valuable teachers. Keeping our kids fit starts with keeping ourselves fit.

4- to 6-Year-Olds: The Building Block Years

These are the building block years, when children are mastering basic movement skills such as catching, rolling, bouncing, kicking and tossing a ball, jumping, walking on a balance beam, running, pedaling a tricycle and hitting a ball with a bat. Skills learned during this time really lay the foundation for more complex activity and sports down the road. Lessig says the focus of physical activity should be fun, fun, and more fun because this age group really loves to engage their imagination in activity. So, emphasize movement as play.

T-Ball: The oversized bat and oversized ball is height adjustable and appropriate for three to nine year olds.

Fun Hop: The Fun Hop is suitable for 4 to 6-year-olds, who weigh up to 100 pounds. The Fun Hop is made of heavy-duty material and inflates over 53 inches in circumference so it can accommodate different sizes. The Fun Hop has a large handle for easy grip. The toy helps develop balance, muscle strength and trunk control.

7- to 9-Year-Olds: Building Complex Movements
The use of basic motor skills in this age group has already developed, and is put to use to build complex movements. For example, instead of just hitting a stationary ball with a bat, kids can now practice hitting the ball while it is moving in the air. This age group can play longer and harder, which means their fitness level can improve. Organized group or team play is encouraged, but not on a competitive level. Activities appropriate for this age group include: bike riding, roller skating, dancing, swimming, karate, hopscotch, basketball and gymnastics. Lessig says basketball really helps develop eye-hand-foot coordination, agility, muscular strength and cardio-respiratory endurance.

10- to 12-Year-Olds: Age Where Fitness Can Go Either Way
Parents be forewarned, this is the age group where often a decline in physical activity begins, according to Dr. Kenneth Cooper, author of "Kid Fitness" and founder of aerobics. If your child has not been so physically active up until now, it's time to really encourage it, Lessig says. If children do not incorporate exercise into their life now, chances are they will continue to be sedentary into adulthood. Team sports and group classes are recommended for this group. Strength training, dancing, step classes, basketball, soccer, baseball, wrestling, gymnastics, yoga, biking are all good choices.

Things to Keep in Mind As a Parent
Lessig says you are your child's best role model. Even if you are not a fitness fanatic or sports junkie, you can still make a difference in your child's life: designate family activity times through out the week (to swim, ride bikes, walk the dog together), show your support by attending your child's sporting games or dance lessons.

Kids who are pressured to compete in sports may develop a negative attitude toward fitness or injure themselves while trying to please others. Remember, physical exercise, no matter what form (sports or fitness), should always be enjoyable. Lessig recommends showing your child you are proud of him or her just for participating.

Sometimes it takes several tries before a child finds an activity that she is comfortable with ,be patient through this and always provide encouragement.