When kids come home from school these days, they often head to a couch or chair to sit in front of their gaming console, computer or cell phone. It’s no secret that the lifestyle of kids has grown more sedentary over the years, which has led to an increase in obesity rates. One of the ways parents and caregivers can fight back is to prompt kids to be more active, including taking part in abdominal exercises.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Before performing any exercises, kids need to warm up. Warming up typically should be about five minutes of physical activity, such as walking and stretching. Light calisthenics, such as jumping jacks and knee bends, also serve as a warm-up activity. Kids should also perform five minutes of light activity following the exercise program, as a means of cooling down.
Kids should lie on their backs with knees bent, feet parallel and arms straight, pointing off to the side. Kids should tighten their abdominal muscles, which has the effect of drawing their stomachs downward toward the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and rest. Repeat for five to 10 repetitions.
For the trunk curl, have the kids lie on the floor with knees bent and arms folded across their chests. Using abdominal muscles only, kids should elevate the trunks of their bodies to an angle of about 15 degrees. Kids should hold this position for about five seconds and rest, repeating five to 10 times. Note the kids should elevate their chests, rather than their heads and necks only, to get the best effect from this exercise.
Kids should lie down on the floor with legs and arms extended. Keeping their legs straight, have the kids raise one leg off the floor and hold it for five seconds. Repeat the motion with the other leg. Repeat the cycle for five to 10 repetitions.
Kids will need an exercise ball for this exercise, although a piece of furniture, such as an ottoman, may be substituted. Have the kids sit on the exercise ball with feet flat on the floor and arms pointing straight up. Slowly, kids lean back, holding their sitting position by tightening their abdominal muscles. This position is held for five seconds, and then the kids sit straight and rest. These motions should be repeated for five to 10 repetitions.
Kids can also exercise their abdominal muscles through normal children play. For example, climbing on monkey bars and up slides provides exercise for abdominal muscles. Riding bicycles is another activity for kids.