In the battle to prevent childhood obesity and to help kids stay healthy, many of today’s parents seek fitness equipment for kids. While dance classes, gymnastic classes and organized sports all continue to provide good outlets for physical activity, several retailers offer more options. Mini-versions of trampolines, treadmills and stationary bikes often are readily available. These exercise pieces look very much like the adult versions, but they are child-size and often brightly colored. Additionally, there are rock-climbing walls, dance pads and multiple video games which force kids to get up off the couch and start moving in order to play.
Most kids love to bounce and jump, so the mini trampoline has become a very popular choice in fitness equipment for kids. These pint-size trampolines usually come with non-slip surfaces and padded handles to help children keep their balance. Kids as young as three years old may be able to use this equipment to help with their sense of balance, cardiovascular health and overall muscle tone. Large trampolines can also serve as good fitness tools for older kids and teens. As an added safety measure, the large backyard trampolines usually are available with safety netting to keep kids from falling off the equipment.
Tiny treadmills and stationary bikes are available for kids who want to exercise like mom and dad. These items often come equipped with added safety features, such as extra padding or automatic shut-down switches. Experts have found, however, that children often will not consistently use this type of fitness equipment for kids because the novelty of the exercise may quickly wear off. One machine that seems to be an exception to this general observation is the child-sized elliptical trainer. Sometimes also called a Glide-a-Stride and sometimes a Moonwalker, this machine is controlled entirely by the child’s own strength and has a tension-free movement that kids seem to enjoy. It may help with coordination and balance, along with providing cardiovascular fitness.
For children who love to climb, rock-climbing walls can often be purchased for indoor or outdoor use. Many people buy these as part of an outside play set, where they serve a similar purpose to the jungle gyms of years past. The rocks can also be applied to inside walls, creating a gym-like setting in a basement or playroom.
For kids who love music, dance pads have become extremely popular and can promote healthy movement. Dance typically is a great source of cardiovascular fitness, and many otherwise sedentary kids will try it because they might view it as fun rather than as exercise. Many of the dance pads combine with video games to appeal to youth. Additionally, video game fitness packages have become a popular choice among parents when purchasing exercise products for kids.
Fitness equipment for kids does not have to be elaborate or expensive. Plain old balls, jump ropes and hula hoops are all excellent tools for getting kids up and moving. Bikes, pogo sticks and skates can still serve to get kids outdoors and off the couch to help keep them healthy and fit.