Does Home Exercise Equipment Benefit Kids

Filed under: Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Activities: Big Kids, Activities: Tweens, Activities: Teens

Dear Reggie,
I am having trouble finding enough time to get my 3 kids to activities during the week. They are between the ages of five and 12. They play team sports on both days of most weekends. A friend suggested that I buy exercise equipment designed for kids and make a home gym. I have some space in the basement that can accommodate a home gym. With their sports on weekends, are they getting enough exercise to stay healthy and fit? If not, what do you think about kids home fitness equipment?
Mr. Backster

Hi Mr. Backster,
Kids need an average of 60 minutes daily of intense activity. If your kids are fairly active, it's safe to assume they run around for 30-45 minutes a day at school, when you combine morning and afternoon recess with their lunch break.

To ensure they remain fit and healthy, they can easily add another 15-30 minutes of activity a day at home - either in the basement or the backyard. The main thing to keep in mind is they must participate in high-intensity activities. They should be out of breath while exercising and sweating by the time they're done.

Home and Commercial Fitness Equipment for Kids

Different companies have created kid-friendly treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes and weight training machines for each major muscle groups. In general, these machines are expensive, require a lot of space and can be difficult to adjust for each child. On the positive side, when used consistently, they can help develop strength and endurance (though only in the specific muscle they are working).

To achieve the best results all around, kids should be running, jumping, twisting, turning and learning to use their bodies a variety of different ways. This can be achieved with a combination of playground games, sports and bodyweight activities.

Cardiovascular equipment and strength machines are one dimensional. Generally, the benefits do not outweigh the cost of purchasing home fitness machines, especially since there are so many cheap and effective exercise alternatives. If you're going to purchase equipment, look into medicine balls, stability balls and resistance bands. Workouts with these tools are interactive and can be done for the rest of their lives and the equipment takes up very little space. Another thing to keep in mind is that kids grow very quickly. Five years from now you will be wondering what to do with large workout equipment?

Final Thoughts

The monotony of cardiovascular equipment is difficult to overcome for all of us. Kids (especially) need constant stimulation. Partner exercises such as medicine ball chest to squat passes and 1-arm band rows are fun and effective for building their fitness level while after one to two weeks of treadmill running most kids have probably reached their boredom limit.

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