With the current focus surrounding children's health and the rise in obesity, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic related issues, fitness for children is receiving much more attention than previously. But trying to get an idea about what type of fitness training children like can be difficult for many people to put their finger on. In our mind it is relatively simple - it should be fun. We see the same thing with adults. They get bored of doing the same old exercises and training week in week out.Children get bored, and get bored quickly, so any exercise has to be fun, engaging and ultimately beneficial for their health.
Whilst supporting our European distributors at their show, I saw a great example of this with five young teenagers who spent about an hour on our stand playing with the medicine ball rebounder. We would show them a game which would require them to run, jump, throw and catch and they would happily perform this for a while until they got bored. We would show them another where they compete against each other in teams and off they go again, happily running around, blissfully unaware of the benefits to their cardio-respiratory system, improvements in hand-eye co-ordination and the calories being expended.
Add this to other equipment like the training ropes, hurdles, ladders and sandballs, and a group of kids can happily train for hours, running around and performing multiple movement patterns, improving mobility and core strength, whilst all the time HAVING FUN! Stop and ask them to perform sets of bicep curls or lateral raises and you soon start to see their eyes glaze over and look at other stands for something to occupy their attention.
We don't have to be getting our children to lift heavy weights or plough away on rowing ergometers or treadmills for hours on end to get them to be active. Make it fun, make it varied, sometimes make it competitive and make it challenging but make it doable, and children will happily exercise to the ideal levels, like we all want them to.