It’s important for kids to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, so why not make it fun? These new fitness trends offer fun ways to exercise for kids as young as 4.
Physical activity is the key to raising healthy children who are prepared to tackle the hurdles of growing up. Nowadays, the playground may have been replaced by the PlayStation, but there are still many fun ways to get kids excited about physical activity. Here are some kid-friendly trends to try that will encourage kids to put down the remote and head for a fitness adventure!
CrossFit for Kids
Discover Your Inner Super Athlete
You’ve heard about the CrossFit movement—the workout that combines the principles of many different types of sports and activities, including gymnastics, weightlifting, running, cycling, and combat sports into one fitness regimen. Now CrossFit is offering classes tailored exclusively to the fitness needs of kids ages 3-18.
CrossFit Kids is meant to teach kids about the principles of good movement, enhance sports performance, and prevent sports injuries in a safe and fun environment. Each program is customized for its target age group. There are more than 50 CrossFit locations in the New York Area offering CrossFit for Kids. To find one in your area, head to kids.crossfit.com.
Kids Obstacle Races
Put Yourself to the Test
Obstacle courses like the Tough Mudder and Spartan Race challenge participants to get down and dirty for a good time. Now young thrill-seekers can get in on the action by joining the Fruit Shoot Mini-Mudder race, a 1-mile obstacle course designed for kids ages 7-12. With obstacles like “Gooey Shoes,” the “Tunnel of Terror,” and the “Secret Agent Squeeze,” kids will have so much fun they’ll forget they’re exercising. Fruit Shoot races currently take place in Long Island and Jersey City, NJ, for kids in the NYC area. For more info and dates, visit toughmudder.com/fruit-shoot-mini-mudder.
For kids as young as 4, there’s the Down & Dirty Obstacle Race’s Adventure Kids series and Spartan Kids. Adventure Kids ages 4-6 tackle a 100-yard dash while those ages 7-13 face a 1-mile run, both followed by fun, age-appropriate obstacles (including, of course, a crawl through the mud at the end). The Spartan Kids race has a ½-mile course for kids ages 4-8 and a 1-miler for ages 9-13.
Shake it Off
We all know grown-ups like to get their groove on, but now kids can jam to their favorite music at Zumba classes for ages 7-11. Classes feature age-appropriate moves and music designed to burn calories and improve flexibility through the ultimate dance party featuring music such as Reggaeton, Cumbia, and more. Check your local fitness center or dance studio for classes.
Yoga for Kids
Exercise the Soul
Kids need some R&R too. Yoga for kids is a fun and relaxing way to promote flexibility, coordination, and body awareness. Kids will play games, listen to music and stories, learn yoga poses, and focus on breathing and visualization techniques. Classes for kids of all ages can be found in yoga studios, fitness centers, and schools around the New York metro area.
Get a Head Start
Many kids love biking, swimming, and running, which may explain the growing popularity of triathlons for kids. Young athletes between the ages of 3 and 15 can participate in multisport adventures across the tri-state area. Distances are determined by age, and many races feature stunning trails and great prizes. Visit trifind.com to find a race near you.
Hula Hoop for All Ages
Hula for Health
The hula-hoop craze has hit full speed. There’s no experience necessary for kids to try this low-impact, hip-shaking, total body workout. Kids can learn choreographed hoop routines or acquire some cool tricks while getting fit. There are no age limits, so it’s suitable for the whole family (even moms-to-be), and classes are being offered at numerous locations throughout the New York City area—search hoopcity.ca/group/hoopitupnyc for one near you.
Spinning for Tweens and Teens
Get on Your Bikes and Ride
SoulCycle, the indoor cycling chain, began offering SoulTeen classes several years ago thanks to a rise in demand. Since then, gyms across the country have begun to offer spinning classes catered to a younger set. Workouts are centered on stationary bikes, are fast-paced, and feature loud music to get members in the mood to move. Most classes are open to children 11 years and older who are at least 4 feet 11 inches tall.
The “Gentler” Dodgeball
If you’re looking for some high-energy fitness that may easily be confused for playtime, head to a ga-ga center near you, such as the Gaga Center in Manhattan (home to the only ga-ga pits in the city). Ga-ga originated in Israel and has gained mainstream popularity in recent years. Dubbed the “gentler” version of dodgeball, the game can be played in a group or one-on-one in octagonal “pits.” It combines skills like dodging, striking, running, and jumping. Once the music is turned up, it’s game on for kids ages 4 and older.
Soar through the Sky
Aerial arts aren’t just for the circus anymore. Aerial classes for kids are taking off this season, providing a challenging workout for kids ages 8-12. Learn new and interesting ways to climb and move the body on vertical silks. Classes teach strength training, basic aerial silks poses, and build a foundation for acrobatics or other performance arts. Find an outlet for your little aerial artist at schools and studios across the area.
Girls on the Run
A Running Group Just for Girls
Celebrate girlhood with Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization that inspires girls through physical activity and positive reinforcement. The experience-based program was developed for girls in third through eighth grades to teach life skills through interactive lessons and running games. The 12-week program is designed to strengthen girls’ positive beliefs about their abilities and to motivate them to achieve their goals. At the end of each season, participants complete a 5K running event. Girls on the Run has chapters in New York City, Nassau County on Long Island, and Fairfield County, CT.
A Gadget to Get You Going
Let’s face it, sometimes a cool gadget can be a good motivator too. That’s why companies that produce lifestyle and activity tracking devices like KidFit have designed a bracelet just for kids ages 5-13. KidFit promotes healthy habits in kids by turning everyday activities and routines into a game. The wristband, which tracks physical activity and sleep, is a good way for parents to help their child set goals and review daily activities. The KidFit tracker is compatible with smartphone and tablet, so it’s easy to keep track from home or on the go!