A Skipping Routine to Keep Kids Fit

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Health & Safety: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Health & Safety: Big Kids

Skipping has been around for as long as any of us can remember. It was once a great pastime for kids before or after school and during recess. In this day and age, as parents are reluctant to let their kids play outside on their own with friends, skipping for fun has taken a back seat to indoor play on the computer and watching television. Along with this departure from outdoor fun comes the loss of the many fitness and health benefits of skipping.

The Benefits of Skipping
In the fitness and sports world, a major component of training is Power Training. In this type of training, exercises are designed around improving an individual's explosiveness or enabling them to quickly move in a particular direction. For example, getting a rebound in basketball or stopping and starting quickly in soccer. Skipping can improve power as the continuous hopping motion strengthens the Achilles tendon, which is one of the prime movers in most explosive power movements. Using different variations of skipping, one can also improve other fitness components such as muscular endurance, aerobic capacity and leg strength. From a sports-training perspective, skipping also helps increase foot speed and muscle coordination.

Along with the performance-related benefits, skipping can also help in the fight against obesity. It helps kids maintain a healthy body weight since it burns a lot of calories. An average skipping workout session of 20 minutes can burn between 200-400 calories. Skipping has also been recognized by the Osteoporosis Society as an excellent weight-bearing exercise that helps adolescents increase their bone density. The Osteoporosis Society recommends 2 to 5 minutes a day of weight-bearing activity to help prevent osteoporosis and to minimize the rate of bone loss that naturally occurs as we age.

Exercise Routine
In my practice, I always recommend parents incorporate skipping into their kids' weekly exercise routine. It's fun, affordable and requires a little bit of space. I usually recommend the following routine 1-2 times a week. It takes 12-24 minutes to complete and can be done at any age.

1. Walking or jogging on the spot: 1-2 minutes
2. Skipping with 2 feet together: 1-2 minutes
3. Push-ups or modified push-ups: as many as you can in 1-2 minutes
4. Skipping with 1 foot at a time, alternating: 1-2 minutes
5. Abdominal crunches: as many as you can in 1-2 minutes
6. Skipping with high knees, running on the spot: 1-2 minutes
7. Repeat

Tip: Make sure to lead kids in a stretch after you are done.

Looking for more kid-friendly workout routines? Check out these posts:

A 7-Step Home Fitness Program for Kids
Make Fitness Fun With Exercise Balls
How to Get Kids Active for 60 Minutes a Day

Reggie Reyes is a certified kinesiologist and personal trainer. He is the president and founder of pt4kids, a company that creates specialized training programs for kids all ages and fitness levels.


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.