The Best Exercises for an Overweight Child

The Best Exercises for an Overweight Child

People often find my website using search phrases such as “Exercise plans for overweight children”, “Exercises for obesity”, or “Exercise DVD’s for overweight children”. So what are the best kinds of exercises for children—especially children who are overweight or lazy?  The answer is THE ONES THEY ENJOY!

Exercise should be fun for kids. They are not miniature adults, but parents often want to make them follow adult-type exercise programs. Some children, especially those who are extroverts, may enjoy team sports such as soccer, football, or volleyball. Very shy children or those who are introverts may avoid exercises that involve lots of other children. If they are self-conscious about their weight or starting puberty, they may avoid any team sport where they are forced to undress in front of their peers, fearing the teasing or stares that are sure to come.

The shy child might prefer an activity where he can spend more time with a parent, such as walking, jogging, riding bikes, shooting hoops, playing catch, rollerblading, bowling, or golf. Wearing a pedometer and keeping a pedometer journal will help motivate him to be more active. Try different activities with him, and see which ones he gets excited about. If he seems to be especially passionate about an activity such as golf, tennis, or ballroom dancing, arrange for a few private lessons if you can afford it.  You may see your child start to “blossom” right before your eyes!

Other activities your child might enjoy are martial arts (it teaches discipline too!), boxing, tap, ballet, or modern jazz dancing, or swimming.

If you need activities for indoors, try jumping rope or a video on hip hop dancing or Tai Chi.

According to a chart Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour on the Mayo Clinic website, the number of calories burned in 1 hour by a person weighing 160 pounds are:

·        Running – 986

·        Rollerblading – 913

·        Rope jumping or Tae Kwan do – 730

·        Stair treadmill – 657 (probably not much fun for a child!)

·        Jogging, 5mph; basketball game; football (touch, flag, general); or tennis singles-584

If your child is not already active, start with about 30 minutes of mild exercise every night and gradually increase the time and intensity of the activities. Have your child keep an exercise journal, writing down the activity, time spent, and how it made him feel (smiley face or sad face). Ask why he felt sad or happy doing the activity. Listen to his concerns without passing judgment.

By helping your child find physical activities he enjoys or can excel in, you are making a valuable contribution to his health and quality of life!