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Performing bodyweight exercises on a regular basis is beneficial to everyone’s health. With the fate of gyms uncertain at this time, it’s important that we all find a way to stay healthy using the resources we have. Purchasing expensive exercise equipment isn’t an option for many households. But exercising at home can still be done doing cardio and bodyweight exercises from the comfort of your living room or bedroom.
For families who have or are in contact with individuals who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19, taking small children to a park or recreational facility might not be possible. It’s important to remember that children need to exercise as well. Outdoor exercises like running, swimming, and bike riding are excellent but for those rainy days, we recommend working out as a family doing bodyweight exercises.
Advantages to Exercising At home
Healthline listed some of the major advantages of home workouts as having privacy, cost-efficiency, and time-saving. No need to worry about people gawking at you while you’re working out or wondering if someone is secretly recording you on a cell phone. Working out at home won’t necessarily cost you a monthly fee unless you’ve signed up for an online streaming service. Before signing up for those streaming services, visit YouTube, and see what’s offered there for free. And last, working out from home will save you time. You won’t have to travel to and from the gym or stand in line, waiting for your favorite exercise equipment to become available.
Virtual Health Partners listed additional benefits for working out at home. For one, you can listen to any kind of music that you want and set the volume as loud as you want. You can also exercise in whatever clothing you desire without worrying about total strangers casting judgment on you. Want to exercise in pajamas? Great! Worried about how you look in those new exercise clothes? Don’t! You are in the privacy of your own home. Safe from unwanted opinions.
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Why Bodyweight Exercises Are Important
Bodyweight exercises are important for many reasons. Fix hit the nail on the head by pointing out that bodyweight exercises are excellent for cardiovascular health and building muscle. Your own weight will give you the resistance you need to strengthen and tone your entire body. Fit And Me expanded on this list by adding that bodyweight exercises are not only important to cardiovascular health but they are also versatile full-body exercises. They can easily be modified for beginners or ramped up to be much more challenging for individuals who are more advanced.
Health Benefits For Children
Many parents would agree that kids who get plenty of exercise during the day, sleep hard at night. But that’s not the only reason why it’s important for kids to exercise. The American Academy of Pediatrics listed bodyweight exercises as ideal for children who are overweight or in poor physical shape because of inactivity. Bodyweight exercises are also ideal for children who have a low tolerance for cardio exercises.
Healthline listed a few additional reasons including decreasing the possibility of obesity, developing strong bones, and promoting mental health. Performing bodyweight exercises with your kids will definitely help accomplish all of these. And what better time to start a home workout routine with your family than during a pandemic? Before you begin an exercise routine with your children, there are a few things you need to consider.
Before Starting A Family Exercise Routine
Before beginning any family routine, such as bodyweight exercises, there are a few things parents need to think about. Growing Child Pediatrics encourages parents to remember there child’s personality type before choosing a workout routine. The kind of exercise a five-year-old loves to do might be very different from the kind of exercise a 10-year-old is willing to do.
While older children might be more willing to perform traditional bodyweight exercises with a parent, younger kids might fair better with cardio exercises. To help keep younger kids fit and entertained at the same time, consider online resources such as GoNoodle. GoNoodle is a free resource for parents and has exercise videos available for streaming through their website as well as their YouTube channel.
There’s one more reason to consider the age of a child before beginning a workout routine with them. ISSA cautions parents that when beginning bodyweight exercises or strength training with children, parents need to choose age-appropriate exercises for their kids. We recommend having a discussion with your child’s physician before beginning any exercise program with your children. HealthyChildren.org emphasizes the importance of making sure children are taught how to do each exercise the correct way to avoid any injuries.
The CDC recommends that children ages 3-5 should be active throughout the day while children ages 6 and up should exercise for at least one hour per day. The bodyweight exercises listed below can be performed by both adults and children although children ages 6 and up will need plenty of time and instruction on how to master these exercises. The nice thing about bodyweight exercises is that they are easily modified.
14 Easy Bodyweight Exercises
Planks are great exercises because, according to Daily Burn, they work the core muscles, strengthening and toning the abdomen, lower back, hips, and arms. Greatist has instructions on three different variations of the plank so you can pick and choose which version is best for your current fitness level. For children, Share Care recommends that children should start off trying to hold the plank position for ten seconds and over time, work toward a full 60 seconds in this position.
Fitness experts with Shape love lunges because they will tone your legs and backside. Very Well Fit loves these exercises because, in addition to all the different lower body muscles that lunges help tone, they also force individuals to work on their balance. They also provide several different modifications to help beginners master this workout. Shape Your Future recommends that children perform lunges for 20 seconds or until they get tired.
Have a pedometer? If so, this next bodyweight exercise is perfect for you! Livestrong lists marching exercises as low-impact exercises that are perfect for people battling obesity. Livestrong also mentions that high-knee marching can take this movement from low-impact to high intensity, providing an extra challenge for individuals who are ready. If you’re marching with your kids, play some fun music in the house.
Believe it or not, The New York Times has a video on how to perform these bodyweight exercises using proper form. Warrior Made recommends that adults trying to lose weight should begin by adding 100 jumping jacks to their workout routine, gradually increasing this number over time. Parents has a list of jumping jack games families can do together.
The geeks over at Nerd Fitness have a healthy obsession with these bodyweight exercises, touting squats to be one of the most awesome exercises anyone can do. Among the many benefits of squat exercises, Nerd Fitness includes the use of multiple groups: core, hips, back, and legs to name a few. Healthline recommends adults set a goal of 12-15 reps of squats and a total of three sets per day. They also provide video instruction for four different types of squats: split squat, goblet squat, curtsy squat, and the basic squat. Kids of all ages can do squats but parents should make sure they are using proper form to prevent injury.
The Healthy recommends adults set a goal of ten push-ups per day as part of their fitness routine. But they also caution beginners that it’s best to skip knee push-ups all together and consider starting off with incline push-ups. They advise that knee push-ups are often done wrong and can lead to injury. Healthline provides a video tutorial on how to do incline pushups. North Shore Pediatric Therapy advises that children as young as six should be encouraged to do eight push-ups in 30 seconds, using the correct push-up form.
Anytime Fitness describes these bodyweight exercises as a different kind of squat. If done correctly, wall sits will work your muscles from your abdomen through your lower body. The Workout Digest recommends holding the wall sit for 30-60 seconds. Health Powered Kids recommends wall sits for children ages 3 -14. They suggest that children attempt a wall sit for two minutes.
Openfit describes these bodyweight exercises as perfect for all levels of fitness. They also highly recommend including standing calf raises in your exercise routine because they improve ankle strength which can help prevent injury. Women’sHealth provides video tutorials on their website for how to perform this exercise. They also recommend starting out at two sets of 10-15 reps, with a 30-60 second break in between sets.
Get Healthy U has step-by-step instructions on how to perform inchworms. These exercises are named after the inchworm because it mimics an inchworm’s movement. Unlike the other exercises mentioned, the inchworm is typically done as a warmup exercise to prepare for more rigorous exercise routines. However, Very Well Fit loves these bodyweight exercises because they engage your shoulders, hips, and glutes. And while the inchworms are typically performed as warm-ups, Very Well Fit advises they can be included as part of a HIIT routine.
Coach loves these bodyweight exercises, stating they are ideal for people who spend their days sitting in a cubicle. The superman plank strengthens both the upper and lower back as well as glutes and hamstrings. ChoosePT recommends these exercises for kids because of their core-strengthening abilities. Children who suffer from developmental delays and children who have a more sedentary lifestyle due to a lengthy school schedule or an obsession with video games will benefit from adding the superman plank to their daily routine.
Healthline lists a few reasons why pull-ups are great exercises including that they are great for strengthening arm and back muscles as well as improving grip. Freeletics has everything a beginner needs to know about how to get started with these bodyweight exercises. Active has a list of modified pull-ups parents can do with their kids, including partner-assisted pull-ups
Well-known as a fun game for kids, Stack has all the details on how adults can turn this activity into a challenging workout routine using hand weights. In addition to jumping other bodyweight exercises such as inchworms, push-ups, and jump squats can all be done using a hopscotch board.
Crab walking is another popular challenge among children. Just like hopscotch, adults can modify this fun activity to make it a challenging workout. Well+Good recommends trying this routine to help workout your arms and core. Get Healthy U loves this workout because of its ability to help improve balance by forcing people to learn how to transfer their weight between their hands and their feet.
Last on our list of bodyweight exercises are frog jumps. NBC Sports recommends these exercises to athletes who want to develop power and speed. They are also good for working out the lower body. One recommendation made, per NBC Sports, is that anyone attempting frog jumps should remember to land softly on the ground to prevent knee injuries.
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Don’t let the pandemic ruin your workout routine. Use your time at home to instill a healthy lifestyle in your children by using a variety of bodyweight exercises to stay fit. Remember to consult a physician before introducing your children to any exercise routine. Take the time to teach yourself and your children proper form for any new exercise. Show us your workout routine! We want to see what you and your family are doing to stay in shape. Tag us on Facebook and Instagram so we can see what you’re doing.
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Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics | Healthline | Virtual Health Partners | Fix | Fit And Me | ISSA | HealthyChildren.org | Daily Burn | Greatist | Share Care | Shape | Very Well Fit | Shape Your Future | Livestrong | The New York Times | Parents | Nerd Fitness | Healthline | The Healthy | Healthline | North Shore Pediatric Therapy | Anytime Fitness | Workout Digest | Anytime Fitness | Workout Digest | Health Powered Kids | Get Healthy U | Get Healthy U | Very Well Fit | Coach | ChoosePT | Healthline | Freeletics | Active | Stack | Well+Good | Get Healthy U | NBC Sports