Staying Fit at Home for Lifelong Learners

Closures of gyms, cancellation of sporting events, and transitioning to online learning has thrown a wrench in the world fitness and overall health and wellness for kids of all ages. From kindergarten to college aged students, everyone is experiencing less physical activity, exercise, fitness, and just movement in general.

Having to go from playing at school and walking around campus the majority of the day to now being desk bound and staring at a screen is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Over time this can have serious implications on our health and wellness.

But with a little creativity and a change in habits, you can overcome the negative consequences associated with the change in all of our daily routines.

Here are the daily recommendations for physical activity for children, adolescents, and adults:

  • Younger children, age 3-5 years old, should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development with a wide variety of activities and play.

  • Children and adolescents, age 6-17 years old, should perform 60 minutes of moderately vigorous activity per day.

  • Adults should engage in 2.5 hours to 5 hours of moderate activity per week or 1 hour 15 minutes to 2.5 hours of vigorous activity per week.

This can be done in one big bout of activity per day, or broken up into smaller segments throughout the day. Either way, it will take the work of parents, teachers, and coaches to engage the younger population. And while you are at it, as an adult, you should partake in it as well for your overall fitness and health.

Here are some fun ways to get your kid, not matter what age, to engage in activity:

  • Go on a hike;
  • Go on a walk to a local park or walking trail;
  • Take the kids to a nearby track to run or bike while you work out;
  • Play tag;
  • Set up an obstacle course with household objects in or outdoors;
  • Jump rope;
  • Use chalk to set up hopscotch or a game of 4 square;
  • Shoot hoops, kick a ball around, or play catch; or
  • Learn a fun dance from YouTube or partake in one of those popular social media challenges going around.

To focus on strengthening activities try using these household objects:

  • Chair or coffee table to perform step ups.
  • Add weight to make it more challenging.
  • Use items from the panty as little weights, perfect for younger kids.
  • Cans of food, jars of salsa.
  • Use the larger items for older kids and adults.
  • Bags of dog or cat food, bags of rice, laundry detergent.

But, even without any of this equipment, you can still get a good workout with bodyweight movements:

  • Squats, split squats, and lunges;
  • Single leg deadlifts (a real challenge even without weight!);
  • Push-ups;
  • Sit ups;
  • Burpees;
  • Tuck jumps, jumping jacks, or any type of plyometric activity;
  • Mountain climbers;
  • Bridges;
  • Heel raises; or
  • Planks.

Plus there are several apps that you can use to help the whole family stay active. Some of these are free or relatively inexpensive during this time:

Whatever it is that you decide to do for activity, a structured work out or play, ensure that everyone in the family that is stuck at a computer or working at a desk for most of the day takes plenty of regular breaks. Every 30 minutes, aim to stand up and move away from the desk, even if it is only for 1 minute. This standing break will go a long way in helping you to maintain your fitness and to improve your overall health and wellness during these times.

Jan 10, 2021

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