Photo by Bruce Stockwell/Flickr
Helping your kids develop healthy habits, like a balanced diet and regular exercise, is an important part of parenting. Sending them to the gym to do reps probably isn’t.
Unless you’ve been hiding from the world this past year, you’ve probably noticed CrossFit fever sweep the nation. I personally know a handful of people who have joined in on this intense workout trend. But these people are my peers, not preschoolers.
It’s no secret there is an issue with childhood obesity in this country, and it is a serious problem we need to eliminate. CrossFit could potentially be a good idea for some kids, and they might even find it to be really fun.
With all of that said, we’d like to suggest five great FREE alternatives to the very pricy training that is CrossFit for kids:
(Outdoors) Map out a route with your kids for a family bike ride. The family bike ride is such an easy go-to and can be changed up pretty easily. Try letting your kids take turns mapping out a route, or leading the pack. To get your whole family into a longer bike ride and exercising more, try creating round-trip destination routes instead of a few loops around your own neighborhood.
(Outdoors) Pick up a few tennis racquets from your local thrift store and head to a park with tennis courts. Tennis is great for both strength and cardio. When I was younger, we’d make challenges and prizes for volleying the ball back and forth. If my brother and I could hit a certain number of returns, my mom would let us rent a movie or pick-up froyo on the walk home.
(Indoors or Outdoors) Try doing yoga with your kids. Yoga has the potential to teach kids great lessons about their bodies and a healthy state of mind. Such a big part of yoga is balance, which can lead to some pretty fun “how long can you do this super weird pose?” competitions. Or try playing Mirror with yoga poses, making up your own poses as you go along. Another idea is to make yoga less “ohm” and more fun by letting kids pick the background music.
(Indoors or Outdoors) For younger kids, just playing pretend can get them moving quite a bit. Try starting with a trip to the zoo to get kids inspired, and walking! Later that week, ask them to mimic the animals they met. Get their whole body moving with frog leaps, elephant steps or monkey play.
(Outdoors) Midwest winters can seem to last forever. But you can still get in a little exercise even though there’s snow on the ground. Have a snowball fight or play tag to get in some family cardio. Moving around in the snow already adds some natural resistance, and you can reward everyone with a family movie and hot chocolate night. It’s all about balance after all! And guess what…you’ll be getting your heart rate up and burning calories right along with your kids. Plus it’s FUN.
The Let’s Move! Campaign
* I am of course not a doctor, or a parenting expert, but Meredith and I agree that we think there are plenty of alternatives to paying a lot of money for such an intense program. We encourage you to research CrossFit Kids on your own to make the best decision for your family. You can learn more about CrossFit Kids on their website. We also recommend this article from the New York Times about the practice.
—Alaina Buzas, Contributor