Quick exercises for kids and teens

couch potato

Physical therapist Dr. Deborah Stack brings us quick exercises for kids and teens – Dr. Lai and Kardos

After six months of COVID; yes, it really has been that long already, your family has probably found some favorite outdoor hiking spots or bike routes.  But what can you do when it’s too cold or wet outside?  How can you combat literally HOURS of kids sitting at computers especially if they only have 30-45 minutes until their next class? Here are quick exercises for kids and teens and a table of caloric expenditure for common activities.

Schedule active movement breaks into their day.  Take advantage of that lunch and recess “break” and be an example yourself. 

Here are some short burst ideas:

  • Have a 15-minute dance party
  • Use your body to make all the letters of the alphabet
  • Shadow box to some music
  • Dust off the treadmill or stationary bike in the basement
  • Play ping-pong
  • Do a few chores (carrying laundry baskets up and down is great exercise)
  • Jump rope
  • Jog in place
  • Do jumping jacks
  • Pull out some “little kid games” such as hopscotch or hulahoop
  • Let each child in your house choose an activity for everyone to try
  • Do a family yoga video
  • Walk or “run” stairs…kids can try to beat their prior score for a minute of stairs
  • Take walking/wheeling/even wheelbarrow laps around the house
  • Stretch out calves, quadriceps, arms and back…see ergonomics post for counteracting all the sitting

Don’t forget the teenagers;  they still need activity too especially if their teams are not practicing or competing.  Staff from the Mayo Clinic recommend kids ages 6-17 should have one hour of moderate exercise each day.  Exercise can help improve mood (through the release of endorphins), improve sleep and therefore attention (critical with all the online learning), and improve cardiovascular endurance.  Here are some numbers to get the kids moving:

All activities are based on 20 minutes and a teen who weighs 110 pounds.  The number of calories burned depends on weight.  If your child weighs more, he will burn a few more calories, if he weighs less, he’ll burn a few less.  Below the table are links to some free and quick calorie calculators on the web so your kids can check it out for themselves.  For those attached to their phones, there are web apps too.

ACTIVITYCALORIES USED
Shooting Basketballs75
Pickup Basketball game/practice100
Biking on stationary bike116
Dancing75
Hopscotch67
Ice Skating116
Jogging in place133
Juggling67
Jumping Rope166
Ping Pong67
Rock Climbing183
Running at 5 mph133
Sledding116
Treadmill at 4 mph67
Vacuuming58
caloriesperhour

Try these activity calculators:

http://www.caloriecontrol.org/healthy-weight-tool-kit/lighten-up-and-get-moving

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/healthtool-exercise-calculator

Keep ’em moving- you’ll have more fit, better rested, and happier kids!  

Deborah Stack, PT DPT PCS
©2020 Two Peds in a Pod®

Dr. Stack is a board certified specialist in pediatric physical therapy and the owner of the Pediatric Therapy Center of Bucks County, LLC in Doylestown, PA. In addition to treating children ages 0-21 for conditions such as torticollis, coordination,  neurologic and orthopedic disorders, she also instructs physical therapists across the country in pediatric development and postural control and is a Certified Theratogs fitter.

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