Who knew weight loss could be this much fun?
According to a new survey by Prevention magazine, a full 76 percent of all children ages 10 to 17 say they’d like to exercise with their parents. So get moving.
We asked Michael Mejia, M.S., C.S.C.S., advisor to the Center for Sports Parenting, to create age-specific father-kid workouts designed to be as fun as they are effective. Do them 3 days a week to form a lasting habit–for both you and your kid.
Ages 6 to 8
Benefit to your kids: Builds fitness, improves body awareness, and increases flexibility.
Benefit to you: Cures treadmill boredom.
How to do it: Perform exercises in succession.
1. Jumping jacks: Do 10.
2. Zigzag sprints: Cover a total of 40 yards by running 10 yards, then changing directions and running another 10 yards.
3. Body-weight squats: Do 10.
4. Bunny hops: Jump forward, keeping your feet together, for 10 to 15 yards.
5. Pushups: Do as many as possible.
6. Monkey run: Shuffle sideways for 10 yards and back, two times. Turn around and repeat, leading with the other foot.
7. Squat thrusts: Do five to 10, just like in junior-high gym class.
8. Rest for 2 minutes, then repeat.
Ages 9 to 11
Benefit to your kids: Improves speed, agility, quickness, and strength.
Benefit to you: Burns fat and increases your draft value in the neighborhood pickup game.
How to do it: Cardiovascular training first, then strength training.
Complete each task before moving on to the next.
1. Rabbit race: Allow your kid a 5- to 10-yard head start for a 40-yard race, chasing him from behind. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat five times.
2. Driveway shuttles: Place six objects–tennis balls, for instance–at the end of the driveway. Take turns sprinting to retrieve objects. Rest 90 seconds; repeat three to five times.
3. Tag: Mark off a 20-foot-by-20-foot area and play tag. (You’re it!) Go continuously for 60 seconds, then rest for 60 seconds. Do five rounds.
Perform each pair of exercises as a superset, doing one set of each exercise before resting for 90 seconds. Do a total of two or three sets of each.
1. Broomstick overhead squats: Hold a broomstick with arms straight above your head. Keep your body as upright as possible and squat as deep as you can. Do six to 10 repetitions.
2. Pushups: Lower your body until your upper arms dip below your elbows, then push yourself back up. Do six to 10 reps.
1. Single-leg phone-book touches: Place a phone book in front of you, stand on your left leg, and squat to touch the phone book with your right hand. Do six repetitions, then switch legs and repeat. That’s one set.
2. Bridges: Get into a pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Pull your abdomen in. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. That’s one set.
Ages 12 to 16
Benefit to your kids: Builds speed endurance and improves balance and core strength.
Benefit to you: Works muscles you didn’t know you had, in a high-intensity fat-burning session.
How to do it: Do cardiovascular followed by strength one day, vice versa the next.
Complete all sets of each task before moving on to the next.
1. Rundowns: You sprint for 5 to 10 seconds. When you slow, your kid sprints until he catches you, then slows to your pace. Repeat. When your kid catches you five times, you’ve completed one set. Do two sets each, and build up to four.
2. Timed suicides: Sprint as fast you can for 5 yards, then turn and sprint back to the starting line. Do this continuously, increasing the distance to the turnaround by 5 yards each time. Cover as much ground as you can in 30 seconds. Then rest while your kid runs. Repeat two to four times each.
Perform the exercises as straight sets, doing two sets of each exercise before moving on to the next. Rest 90 seconds after each.
1. Single-leg deadlifts: Stand on your left leg, holding your right leg in the air, bent 90 degrees. Slowly lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor, then push yourself back to the starting position. Do six repetitions.
2. Swiss-ball back extensions: Lie chest down on a Swiss ball, your arms in front of you and your feet braced on the floor. Raise your arms, shoulders, head, and chest as high as possible. Pause for 2 seconds, then return to the starting position. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.
3. Swiss-ball leg curls: Lie on your back on the floor and place your lower legs on a Swiss ball. Push your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Without pausing, pull your heels toward you and roll the ball as close as possible to your hips while keeping your body in a straight line. Roll the ball back to the starting position. Do six to eight repetitions.
4. Traveling lunges: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step forward with your left leg. Lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor and your right knee nearly touches the floor, keeping your torso upright. Push off your left leg and step forward with your right leg so that your body is in the starting position again. Then repeat, lunging forward with your right leg this time. Continue to alternate legs until you’ve traveled 20 yards.