As a homeschooling mom of two boys that have never been interested in playing sports, I’ve had to use some creativity with their physical education. When the weather is conducive to playing outside, getting exercise is easy. Going for a walk, running around the yard, or enjoying a playground are great ways to be active. However, when you are housebound because of the weather, staying fit inside can be more of a challenge.
Here are five ways to keep your kids physically fit indoors.
- Hide and seek is an easy game to begin your fitness session. Play a few rounds as a warm-up. This can be followed by some races. Even if your indoor space is tight, you can still make this work. Instead of a typical running race, have your kids walk like crabs or crawl. If your kids are young, you can get quite silly with this by imitating different animals. You could also do wheelbarrow races. Have one child hold the feet of another while that child tries to walk on his or her hands. Then, have the children switch places.
- Strength Training. Teach your children some basic exercises like push-ups, planks, and squats. You can also utilize household items like cans of soup as basic weights and use them for exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions, and upright rows. If you’re not sure of the proper techniques for each exercise, there are great resources online.
- Hiit Workout. Hiit stands for high-intensity interval training. This is very similar to the way many kids naturally play outdoors. They run hard to chase a ball or race across the monkey bars and then they take a brief break before doing another intense physical activity. Begin the workout by marching in place for 30 seconds. Then do twenty seconds of an exercise followed by ten seconds of rest. Try to do three rounds. Some high-intensity exercise ideas are jump rope (if your space allows), jumping jacks, burpees, and running in place.
- If your home happens to have stairs, you have a great tool at your disposal. Repeatedly walking up and down a flight of stairs can be a great workout. Depending on the age of your children, you can even challenge them to take two steps at a time. You may need to keep this activity interesting for your kids. Doing stairs can be boring. You could try chanting something that you’re currently learning in your homeschool. Or, you could sing a fun song. Another idea is creative storytelling. Have one person begin a story and the next person add to it. When you have finished a set number of flights, end the story and begin another.
- I don’t know if this idea will work for teens, but when my kids were young a little music was all they needed to get moving. Choose some fun music and just start dancing. You could get more structured with this if you want and teach your kids line dances, ballroom dance moves, or some other type of dance. Or, just play a favorite type of music and get those heart rates up by letting your kids demonstrate their favorite dance moves.
Being housebound does not mean that you need to sacrifice physical activity. Our bodies were created to move. I think you’ll agree that days with exercise are better than days without it. Kids need to get their wiggles out, so to speak. Whatever indoor exercise you choose to do, begin with an easy warm-up activity and end with a cool-down activity. Most importantly, whether you keep it simple or more structured, make exercising indoors a fun experience for everyone.