Children's Fitness Training
Numerous recent studies show that a vast majority of children follow a sedentary lifestyle, with the main culprit being the TV and computer games.
Positive steps need to be taken to encourage children to become more active. By not doing so, many conditions and diseases associated with a sedentary life will rise as inactive children become inactive adults.
The main principles of exercises and training used by adults also apply to children, however the following guidelines should be used.
Variety and enjoyment:- This will aid to keeping children motivated, and help encourage them to come again.
Demonstration:- Children learn better through watching a clear demonstration. If you spend too long talking, the children will get bored, and quickly lose interest.
Services:- Provide both toilet facilities and refreshments, especially if it is warm.
Competitions:- Children find competitions, such as relays fun. Try to arrange the teams so that al the children either win or lose, avoid making the activity too competitive. Reward all the children both winners and losers at the end.
Music:- Current music with a good beat, around 120 beats per minute is ideal for most activities, remembering not to have the music too loud, as you will find it difficult to explain what is happening.
Teaching:- If you aim to use an activity to teach children the benefits of exercise, avoid any more than two teaching points at any one time, as exercise and having fun should be your main objective.
As with all exercise a gradual warm up and stretch should be implemented into the program.
Depending on the age group, and your own experience you can try a simple aerobic style warm-up, or a simpler pulse raiser and mobility style warm-up.
North South East West (Pulse Raiser Mobility warm-up)
Start with the children in the center of the room. Point to the walls, and name them North South East and West.
Call out a direction and get the children to move towards that wall.
Vary their movement by including:- Walking / Running / Bounding / Hopping / Funny Walking / Side Stepping / Skipping / Walking & Jogging with swimming arms, (Front crawl, breast stroke, back stroke and butterfly).
Try to catch the children out by pointing to one wall and calling the name of another. Add further variety by calling out "Floor" children immediately lie down, and "ceiling", the children try and touch the ceiling.
Children are unable to stay still for long, and the fact that static stretching is not suitable for dynamic movements, aim to add dynamic stretches throughout the warm-up.
The following page will give you some advice on suitable activities for children's fitness.