Youth Workouts: Intermediate

Linda Melone, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer

Your child does not have to be the soccer star of the neighborhood to be active and fit. In fact, kids can benefit from incremental workouts much like adults, as long as it amounts to the recommended 60 minutes a day. Getting started can be tough, so if your kids are already relatively active, you want to keep that momentum going. And once you've set an example by keeping an active family lifestyle, it's easier to up the ante for everyone.

To keep motivation high, create a positive exercise or game experience, which increases a child's confidence and enjoyment, according to a report by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). And if they play sports, keep children in non-elimination type sports to avoid having them sit idle on the sidelines or enroll them in teams where “everyone must play in every game” rules apply.

It's easiest to maintain activity when you live within walking distance to a park or outdoor recreational area. Children who biked or walked to local recreational sites were more active than children whose families lived farther away, according to an ACSM report. But even if you live far from such an area, with a little creativity you can create your own family parks and recreation department!

Tips to Get Going

Keeping kids in motion requires changing scenery and/or the activity itself to avoid boredom. A few ideas to try include:

  • Limit TV and video games after school and substitute fun, active games
  • Get your child involved in a regular after-school activity like karate or swimming
  • Involve the entire family and make it fun
  • Include breaks so kids don't become overwhelmed
  • Try geocaching ( where the entire family can hunt for buried treasure and report online as to what they found
  • Create a fun zone at home by clearing space for dancing or tossing balls around during inclement weather

Fun Activities to Try

Mix and match these activities and create your own versions to keep it fun. Do each activity for a total of 60 minutes, or work up to 60 minutes over the course of two weeks.

Week 1

Monday - Have a relay race around the yard
Tuesday - Play Follow-the-Leader where the leader chooses 4 exercises for everyone to copy
Wednesday - Have scavenger hunts where family members must find hidden treasures
Thursday - Jump rope—see how long everyone can go
Friday - Play tag around the yard

Week 2

Monday - Go geocaching locally or make up your own treasure hunt
Tuesday - Try an indoor workout like Wii and compete with other family members
Wednesday - Go for a family bike ride
Thursday - Go to a local park and play on the equipment
Friday - Go hiking in the woods or a park

Once you've exhausted your own ideas, speak with a certified fitness professional or your child’s physical education teacher to help you take the next step.

Done with the Intermediate workout? Move on to Advanced.

This content was provided by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the world's largest sports medicine and exercise science organization and proud content provider for NBA FIT