The American Heart Association suggests children partake in at least one hour of physical activity every day to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, depression and diabetes. The key to teaching children about staying fit is to make it an exciting experience. When it comes to fitness videos, up-beat teachers, easy-to-follow instructions, props, music and creative movement will attract the attention of your child, making the participation fun.
Yoga has been used in schools to introduce light physical activity as well as for stress management and imaginative play. "YogaKids ABCs" from 2004 encourages children to "become" dogs, snakes, cows and cats, all while improving coordination, flexibility and concentration. Marsha Wenig, founder of YogaKids International, has designed her program to mix yoga, play and warmth so it appeals to its young audience. Each pose is modeled after a letter in the alphabet, so your child will increase her literacy skills as well as body-awareness. This video is designed for children ages 3 to 6.
"Shaun T's Fit Kids Club"
Dancing can improve cardiovascular health and encourage self-confidence and creative expression. "Shaun T's Fit Kids Club" is a 2013 dance fitness program for children ages 7 and above. In both 20-minute segments, Shaun T, best known for his "Insanity" workouts for adults, breaks down each dance move so the choreography is easy to follow and execute. The video also comes with a wall poster to track your child's exercise, snack ideas, and a helpful guide that teaches children how to read nutrition labels.
"FitStix: A Fun Workout for Kids"
The 2011 DVD "FitStix: A Fun Workout for Kids" teaches children ages 5 to 13 how to use the JoyFitstix props to get a full-body workout. FitStix are two handheld sticks that weigh just under one pound each. When your child shakes them, she will hear a rattling noise to accentuate her movement, which will give her an added sensory experience while working out. The program runs 40 minutes, and is taught by a certified fitness instructor, Karen Joy Allen, who is also its creator. The JoyFitstix used for the DVD are sold separately.
"Stott Pilates: Fitness Fun: Pilates for Kids"
Pilates increases stamina, strength and balance. "Stott Pilates: Fitness Fun: Pilates for Kids" is a timeless 2008 video that will introduce your child to Pilates in a fun and comprehensive way. Shoulder shrugs, arm circles, leg lifts and stability ball exercises are some of the workouts demonstrated by the instructor and children. Since this video is separated into age-appropriate sequences, it grows with your child from ages 8 to 14. A mat and exercise bands are needed to accompany "Fitness Fun."