Kids are natural mimics, something every parent and babysitter knows all too well. They love and learn by imitating you, and that includes your workouts. Inspired by the adorable photos MYX members have shared of their kids working out with them, we asked two of our trainers/moms, Jesse and Christina, about workouts for kids.
Christina says it’s only natural for kids to move. She’s watched her four kids, ages 9 to 18, explore their world through constant movement. That’s why she’s looked for positive opportunities to help them understand and appreciate what their bodies can do.
Jesse, mom to two youngsters, agrees. When our kids see us doing something we enjoy, they want to do it too. Some adults might see squats, burpees, and jogging as exercise, but kids see jumping, climbing, and running as fun.
Both Jesse and Christina see their workouts as a privilege, something they want to do to live a long and healthy life. And they’ve worked to help their children appreciate the wonder of being able to control and move their bodies. So how can you make workouts fun and safe for your kids? Just remember they’re kids.
Jesse’s 11-year-old daughter loves doing yoga with her as she works out. Kids have natural flexibility — hello Child’s Pose and Happy Baby Pose. The stretching and strength training that yoga delivers complement her daughter’s cheerleading workouts. Christina’s 9-year-old loves mimicking her workouts.
Gamification can turn everyday actions into fun, including exercise. You can challenge your partner and your kids by gamifying the family walk to increase the playful quotient. See how many times each of you can hop or skip to the next landmark. Turning a leisurely stroll into a game lets you sneak in an enjoyable exercise for kids and you, especially if the winner gets to choose the next contest.
If you’ve got teens, Christina suggests indulging in a little friendly rivalry. Challenge them to do what you’re doing, only better. Can they outlast you in a HIIT class or stay in Zone 2 longer than you? (Spoiler alert, they probably can.)
Above all, Jesse and Christina stress that when we’re talking about exercising for kids, we need to give them the time and space to explore how their bodies move without imposing rigid expectations. They need to find the joy in it. They need to have fun. It’s up to us to ensure the activity is safe and age-appropriate. Because in no time at all, racing you to the finish line for fun can transform into a lifetime love of movement. And that’s good for every body.