Get your kids moving with these easy exercises that can be done at home to increase muscle and bone strength!
The skeletal structure is responsible for supporting our body weight as well as keeping our organs in place. Bones are live tissues and if we don’t nourish them as children there are greater chances that our kids will suffer from osteoporosis and other bone-related issues as they age.
Bone strengthening exercises help to prevent injuries down the road by increasing bone density and preventing fractures from happening. You can invest in your child’s bone health by making sure they create a strong foundation for lifelong health. Bone health is different for different children depending on gender, age, race, food that they’re being given, hormonal factors and physical activity.
Children are growing faster than ever before, and that means that their muscles and bones are growing too. Too many kids are sitting down for hours on end without getting any exercise. That’s why it’s important for parents to get their kids started on exercises that will increase muscle and bone strength. Exercise is essential for keeping your body healthy and strong. Research shows that strength training over a period of time increases bone density though very young children should not be lifting heavy as their bones are still soft and must be protected.
Also for kids, between school, activities, eating and sleeping, finding the time to exercise can be difficult. So, here are some exercises that you can do at home to increase your child’s muscle and bone strength. By following these exercises, your child will be able to get their body moving and build up strength in no time.
1. Yoga and Pilates for kids
Yoga can be hugely beneficial to improve bone density as it uses the principles of isometric holds and uses body weight to increase resilience in the joints. The National Center for Biotechnology Information has published a paper that talks about the benefits of yoga and pilates movements in strengthening and balancing one’s body.
The mindfulness of the practice makes it easy for children of any age group and level to start with yoga. Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility and relaxation. There are many kid-friendly yoga videos available online that make it simple for them to follow along if they don’t have yoga as a part of their school curriculum or activity sessions already.
Some of the movements in yoga to increase bone and muscle strength are mountain pose, cobra pose, bear crawls, horse pose, plank pose and others. Glute bridges are perfect for toning the butt and improving posture, while static holds are perfect for increasing muscular endurance. Practicing this over a period of time can really help create strong joints and bones. Trust me when I say, it’s going to be some of the best moments with your child, playing and getting stronger at the same time!
2. Compound movements- Squats and lunges, push and pull
Muscles and bones get stronger under resistance. Using gravity to work the largest and most important muscles in the body can be done through compound movements. They help us move, think, and feel our best. However, they can get weaker over time if they’re not exercised regularly and joint pains and lower back aches creep in. That’s where exercises like squats, lunges, and push and pull movements shine through!
To increase your bone strength, you can do balance beam exercises or squats with a weighted barbell (these two exercises are especially great for children because they’re both relatively safe). Even starting them off on half push-ups on their knees and climbing ropes/ monkey bars, rowing machines etc with supervision can be a superb way to add in the push-pull movements.
The benefits of compound movements are that they not only help to build muscle, but they also help to strengthen bones, bring better balance, increase core strength, improve endurance, make your skeletal structure stronger and work in unity, and finally enhance cognitive ability and longevity.
Squats, lunges, and pushups are great exercises for beginners because they can be done with or without any equipment. Plus, they’re easy to do at any time – even when you’re on the go. These exercises help to improve balance and mobility, which are both important for overall health. They also help to build muscle and bone strength, which is important for preventing diseases in the future. If you’re looking for a good exercise routine that doesn’t require a lot of space, squats, pushups, planks and lunges are a great choice!
Check the steps below that you need to take in order to do squats, lunges and pushups for muscle and bone strength.
- First, make sure that your area is clean and free from obstacles.
- Next, find a sturdy surface that is comfortable for you to stand on while performing the exercises.
- Finally, find your squatting position and then place your feet shoulder-width apart. From here, slowly lower yourself down into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Lunges– Stand in a square position. Take your right leg back and soften your knee as you try to bring it down at a 90° angle towards the ground. Keep the core engaged. Use your core strength to bring the right leg forward and repeat with the left leg.
Pushups– Push- ups and press-ups are great for strengthening the chest and arms. Start on all fours. Walk your hands forward. Wrist under your shoulders and walk your feet back till you’re in a regular plank position. Bend your elbows and try and bring your chest as close to the ground as possible without dropping your hips. Come back up and start over from the plank position.
Tips for proper form when doing squats or lunges include keeping your back straight (no rounding), keeping your abs engaged at all times (even when lifting heavy weights), maintaining good posture throughout the entire exercise series (hips should be tucked in towards your tailbone), maintaining good balance by avoiding leaning too far forward or backward, breathing deeply through your nose while performing the exercise series (inhale when lowering yourself down into a squat position; exhale while rising back up), and maintaining control throughout each repetition by squeezing your glutes at all times!
Walking is a great low-impact cardio workout that can help you burn calories fast. Combined, these exercises will help to increase muscle strength and bone density – making them ideal exercises for kids at home!
3. Running, dancing, skipping, and free-flow play
Running, skipping, dancing and learning to use free flow movement can help children not only strengthen certain larger muscle groups but also micro muscle movement and isolating muscles as done when one dances or creates waves with their spine.
These are amazing for kids to increase muscle and bone strength- Hula hooping, belly dancing, hip hop etc are excellent cardiovascular exercises, which are important for overall health. In addition, they are great for developing coordination, micro muscles and balance.
If your child is looking to improve their muscle strength, running, animal flow and skipping are great ways to do it without ever having to go to the gym. Here are the steps that you need to take in order to get started:
- Start by finding a good place to run, skip or move– even a little space in the house with a mat is enough to get started. You can also try using a home running track, cones or markers if they are available at your place to demarcate areas.
- Find some good shoes that fit your child – sneakers or boots work best since they provide stability while running or skipping.
- Start by warming up by doing some basic stretches beforehand (legs, arms).
- Once your child is properly warmed up, let them get started by following the instructions that have been provided on the exercise page (running route/skating rink).
- Make sure that you keep an eye on them – if they start feeling too tired or out of breath, stop the exercise and let them rest for a bit before continuing later on.
Make sure they’re keeping themselves hydrated, and sipping on water but not too much.
- Finally, enjoy watching your child work out!
Aches and pains
Aches and pains are part of the muscle-building process. If your child has been having soreness and aches a few ways to support them is through warm water soaking of the feet, gentle massages and increasing magnesium-rich food for quick recovery.
Importance of food
Supplementing your food with bone-building foods like toasted sesame seeds, ghee, bok choy, broccoli, chickpeas and more can give the kind of support your child’s body needs to create healthy bones and support their fitness journey. Food is an essential part of any health journey especially in creating better muscles and bones with the right kinds of proteins and minerals.
There you have it! Three simple and effective exercise groups that you can do at home to improve your cardiovascular fitness. You could space them out adding each group of movements two to three times a week, even if it’s for as little as 20 mins. Now get out your workout mats and start running, skipping, squatting, and lunging your way to better health!
The views expressed are that of the expert alone.
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