It's never too early to start your child on the path to health and fitness. We all know that getting regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. Kids are a very active group, and many don't need exercise to control weight.
However, what's important is to introduce them to the idea of exercise as a way of life and help them find an activity they enjoy and hopefully will continue to enjoy throughout their lives.
You may not know which kids' gym equipment is the best to introduce your kids to the world of fitness. Here are some tips as to what to get your young ones, according to their ages.
Ages 3 to 5: Make It Fun
Kids between the ages of three to five need to remain active throughout their day. Kids at these stages of development are just learning what their bodies can do, helping them explore by encouraging them to run, jump, and stretch whenever possible.
This is the time to get them excited about moving their bodies. You can introduce them to almost any type of fitness practice, such as yoga, running, dancing, and even team sports, as long as everyone's expectations remain reasonable.
Preschooler sporting events are not the major leagues, and kids between three and five don't have good coordination. The most important part of the game is that the kids have fun playing and fall in love with the activity.
Some kids' gym equipment that your preschooler can use looks like the same equipment you work out on, only smaller. From miniature exercise bikes to weight-lifting benches, you can teach your kids the basics of using this equipment, so they will continue to do so safely throughout their lives. Include a slide, a tunnel, balance stepping stones, and a hopper ball to create a miniature circuit training course that helps them improve their balance and develop their motor skills.
Ages 6 to 9: Vary Activities
At this point, most kids who have been practicing for a little while can hit a T-ball or make a pass with a soccer ball. Their coordination is improving, and they're picking up new skills every time they play.
Most of their physical activity should be aerobic because children naturally build strong bones and muscles when they jump and run. Biking, along with swimming, is an excellent skill to acquire for any kid. Not only will they have these skills for the rest of their lives, but you can lay the foundations for safe practices in both.
Since certain activities put pressure on specific growth plates, different activities provide a healthy variety of fitness skills. By not concentrating too heavily on one sport or activity but introduce your children to a broad range of viable sports and activities to keep undue stress off of their growth plates.
Some fun equipment to provide your child with when they are six to nine years old is soccer goals, a rockclimbing wall, jungle gym, hula hoop, jump rope, inflatable punch bag, or trampoline.
Ages 10 to 12: Challenge Them
When your kid starts to approach their pre-teen years, they can handle more challenges. They can compete in sports competitions, as long as the focus isn't always on winning.
They can also handle runs or other stamina-based activities if they are prepared and have trained for them appropriately. Some great equipment to introduce them to in these vital years are more serious pieces like treadmills or a training bench and dumbbell set.
There are kid-sized treadmills that introduce young bodies to cardiovascular activity and increase their range of motion. As with any gym equipment that your kids are using, make sure that the treadmill has safety features like handrails and a safety key that stops the machine if it's pulled out.
Ages 12 to 14: Don't Push Them
Kids this age may lose interest in more traditional team sports. They may turn toward other, more independent activities like running, rowing, figure skating, snowboarding, or boxing. This is an entirely natural part of adolescence, and although you may be tempted, you should shy away from pressuring your kid to engage in activities they don't like.
Instead, give them quality equipment like an erg, pull-up bar, elliptical trainer, stationary bike, crunch machine, or even a punch bag and boxing gloves for them to explore their other interests, develop their core and stamina. Perhaps your kid has a new fascination with yoga or other anaerobic exercises. Invest in a mat, an oversized ball, and some stretchy bands.
Many teenagers express interest in weight-lifting, but you should discourage lifting heavy weights until after they've entered puberty.
How to Pick the Right Equipment
The correct equipment for your kids will be whatever is the most fun to them and engages them in the activity. Trampolines, both smaller and larger, are great additions to any home gym.
One of the critical aspects of the equipment you get your kid is portability and compact storage. Look for pieces that fold down into smaller spaces so you can store them behind furniture or in closets especially if your child loses interest in an activity for a while.
Safety features are essential, including details that prevent falls, cushion landings, and eliminate scratches or overheating. The brand of equipment you get should have a reputation for safety and durability, and comply with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission safety standards.
If you get your child equipment, make sure they are the appropriate weight and height for the activity.
The Final Word
Kids should be introduced to physical activity in a manner that is challenging but engaging.
If you are thinking about providing your kids with some guidelines and gym equipment, make sure the frames are durable, have requisite safety features, and make sure that the first goal is always to have fun.
With a little encouragement and the right gear, your kids will fall in love with an active lifestyle.