YOUR LIFE YOUR HEALTH

Focusing On Fun Helps Keep Young Kids Active

Dec 7, 2019, 2:40 PM | Updated: 3:30 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Finding time to keep kids active and healthy during the holidays can be a challenge. But it’s all about keeping fitness fun for little ones.

Metta Semrad leads by example. As a fitness instructor, she finds creative ways to workout with her girls.

“They love doing Cosmic Kids Yoga and Just Dance, and you can find them both on YouTube,” said Semrad, who lives in Lehi. “And those are super fun, especially if we can get my husband involved. It’s so funny when he’s doing something that’s a little out of the norm for dad to do.”

And that’s the key: making it playtime.

Libba Shannonhouse, an exercise physiologist with the Intermountain LiVe Well Center said, “It’s not a matter of, ‘Let’s take them to the gym and exercise.’ The more that they can play at that age, they’re going to develop muscle strength, they’re going to develop the coordination, the stability needed for the sports they may want to play down the road.”

If your schedule is packed, try an app called the 7 Minute Workout. “It’s seven minutes. Everyone has seven minutes,” Shannonhouse said.

It rotates through different exercises you can do with your kids.

“You do the exercise for 30 seconds. It’ll count you down. It’ll demonstrate. It’ll have a timer, and then you have 10 seconds before you have to do the next one,” Shannonhouse said.

“It’s not too long to get bored, and the fact that you have so many different exercises — you’re doing something different every 30 seconds — that keeps it engaged,” she added.

Semrad said getting outside, even when it’s cold, is a great way to stay active and connect.

“Everything from me is focused on them. So they feel like I’m not distracted, and they can just open up a little bit,” she said. “Usually when they get home from school, I’ll send them right outside to play. Run to a neighbor’s house, or they’ll run back and forth from a neighbor’s house and just play.”

She said this makes exercise for kids a breeze.

Shannonhouse recommends planning to run a 5K together, making it something you do as a family with a goal in mind.

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Focusing On Fun Helps Keep Young Kids Active