Tips for Keeping Your Kids Fit During the Off Season from Tips for Keeping Your Kids Fit During the Off Season
Tips for Keeping Your Kids Fit During the Off Season
One in five people between the ages of 6 to 19 is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While it’s recommended that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, many are falling short. There are millions of young people who participate in sports, but when their season is over for their sport of choice, they often don’t know what to do to keep fit until it starts back up again. “By taking steps to keep fit during the off season, your young athlete will be a better athlete once the season starts back up,” says Coach Sarah Walls, personal trainer and owner of SAPT Strength &Performance Training, Inc., who is also the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
Focusing on strength training during the off season will help create a stronger athlete when the new one begins, Coach Walls says. Find a sports performance training center that can help young athletes enhance their physical abilities and reduce risk of injury.
It’s always a good idea to get kids cross training by playing other sports during the off season from their main sport. Choose one that compliments the primary one, but works on skills, movement patterns, and conditioning that are similar to the primary one, Coach Walls says. "For example, if your young athlete’s main sport is soccer, encourage them to do some track during the off season. They will gain speed and endurance skills that will can be put to use when they are back on the soccer field."
Encourage kids to stay active all week long, aiming to get at least an hour of physical activity every day, Coach Walls says. Whether it is taking a walk, bike riding, or actively playing outside, they will benefit from daily exercise.
Focus on nutrition
Playing sports is often half-mental. Teaching kids mindfulness can give them a huge boost when it comes to playing sports, Coach Walls says. According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness entails being aware of the present moment and accepting things as they are without judgment. By doing this, they explain, people are better able to shift their focus to their performance, rather than distracting negative experiences such as anxiety, Coach Walls adds.
Don’t overdo it
While you want to help keep your kids fit between seasons, you also want to give them some down time to relax. Maintain a balance between keeping them physically active, but giving them the rest their body needs, Coach Walls says.
Walk with family dog
There are boring walks, and then there are walks with the dog: These provide an inherent sense of purpose kids will almost always prefer. Allowing your kids to take safe walks in public with Fido lets them take responsibility while still enjoying themselves. Consider adding a little adventure to the mix by selecting new trails or parks to explore. Also, mix in some fun conversation, play the “I Spy” game, launch a scavenger hunt, or eat a healthy snack.
Get involved in community activities
Events within the community — whether it’s a cul-de-sac block party, a festival, a parade, or a library event — often involve plenty of outdoor activities with lots of movement! They’re perfect for inspiring a child’s imagination (while masking the exercise they’re getting: That’s a win-win). Plus, community events let your kids get to know their neighbors, as well as create long-lasting connections to their hometown.
Play sports with the family
When it comes to bonding with your family, friendly competition can’t be beat. Plus, it keeps the family fit. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do — soccer, baseball, basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, or tag — you’re doing it as a family, and you’re having fun in the process.
Go on field trips
Communities are typically good about offering fun ways to stay active. Consider scheduling a monthly field trip around the area, whether it’s visiting the bowling alley, the roller rink, a climbing gym, or a trampoline park. Explore the local zoo, take a tour of the city, or go horseback riding. Ask your children to come up with more fun ideas and jot them down on pieces of paper. Once a month, pull a random piece from a hat and see where it takes you.
Have unplanned fun
Be a little silly, too. Most of the time, moms and dads are the disciplinarians. Having fun during family time that’s focused on doing things as a team — and not focused on the television or internet — puts parents in a new light. Kids get to see their folks react to different circumstances, and the rewards are tremendous. Soon, you’ll be challenging each other to see who can take out the garbage fastest or invent a homemade duster to tidy the knickknacks.
Go bike riding
Try choosing an activity that is exercise, but not a traditional track and field or gym activity. Go bike riding. Go for a hike up a mountain trail. Make them climb and jump and reward them with the achievement of reaching the goal at the end. It might be a bottle of water and a restful moment taking in the view from the top that few others venture to reach.
Do Yoga together
Kids and yoga make a perfect pair. Children love to move their bodies, they enjoy imitating animals and they have lots and lots of energy just waiting to be channeled into something productive. Not only does the practice build mental and physical strength but it also teaches them about their bodies, balance and the importance of taking care of themselves.