Good morning healthy legacy builders. As most of you may already know, I have finally started my kids fitness class. (Kid’s Fitness Foundations) What some of you may not know is why I am so passionate about its format. Below I have included a paragraph straight from my ACE Youth Fitness Manual. (edited ever so slightly for length)
“A 10 year evaluation of changes in muscular fitness in English children revealed observable declines in measure of upper-body and abdominal strength( such as sit ups, bent arm hang and handgrip). (Cohen et al., 2011)
These findings are troubling as physical activities during childhood have typically involved high-energy movement such as jumping and running. However , children with low levels of muscular fitness may be less likely to engage in free play and more likely to engage in sedentary pursuits.
The eventual decline and disinterest in physical activity appears to begin early in life in sedentary boys and girls.
Children who are not exposed to an environment with opportunities to enhance muscular strength and Fundamental Movement Skills such as catching, kicking, jumping, and balancing appear less willing to participate in games, sports and free play activities.
By middle childhood, children more accurately compare their physical prowess to others and their perception of competence can influence their persistence in games and activities. Some 10 year olds already know they are not as good as their peers and, consequently, they choose to be sedentary rather than display low levels of motor-skill competence in front of their family and friends.
In support of these observations, motor proficiency was a significant predictor of physical activity in children 6 to 10 years of age in a longitudinal study that examined the determinants of physical activity in youth.
That is, children with high levels of motor coordination at age 6 showed negligible changes in levels of physical activity over the next three years compared with children with low and moderate levels of motor coordination, who experienced declining levels of physical activity.”
Yes, you read that right. By age 6, children are already likely to start having a decline in their levels of physical activity. I choose to group the ages the way I did because one, those ages are close enough to keep everything appropriate for everyone and two, these are such crucial years in determining a child’s fitness levels later in life. If we can get a child confident and comfortable with their fitness abilities early in life, we can set them up for success in a big way.
Another piece of formatting for my class is keeping a positive environment. I think we all have experienced feeling “less than” or not good enough. And what happens when we feel like we are destined to fail? Well as shown in the research above, we shy away from those feelings and activities surrounding them. It is so important we create a space that it is okay to fail in order to be encouraged enough to keep trying.
And thirdly, every class is designed to hit each Fundamental Movement Skill that is necessary for a child’s development. So while the activities appear to just be fun and games, Kids are actually learning and developing skills they didn’t even know they had!
For those of you who aren’t local and able to attend a class, I have created three moves you can do at home with your child. All you need is a kiddo and some sidewalk chalk!
1.) (chalk) Cones Drills
No cones? No problem! I used the same fun drills I would with cones, but I colored circles where the cones would be. Not only did this work well, but it was a nice little change from the norm.
2.) Obstacle Course
By drawing a few lines, circles and dots we were able to practice almost every fundamental movement skill in this fun obstacle course. After the kids went through a couple times, I let them draw their very own course. This ended up being great for spacial awareness too! (If you liked this- check out our indoor obstacle course!)
3.) Letter ‘S’ Tracing
Tracing the letter S has kids crossing the midline of their body which is amazing for their brains. It basically causes both sides of the brain to “light up” and the more practice kids can get doing this the better! Draw an S on the ground (about the width of the child’s chest) and have them trace it with their pointer finger.
And that’s it! Simple yet effective moves to help hone your child’s skill set and help empower them for a healthy feature.
I hope this post was of some help to you! Please feel free to ask any questions, my e-mail box is always wide open! Let me know in the comments what your favorite physical activity was growing up 🙂