The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans—not to mention every ACE textbook—have long been teaching health coaches and exercise professionals about the value of well-balanced exercise programs. You know the rundown: Perform a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory physical activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity cardiorespiratory physical activity, or an equivalent combination of the two. Perform muscle-strengthening activities of at least moderate–intensity, involving all major muscle groups, on two or more days per week. Complete at least two or three days per week of neuromotor exercise and at least two or three days per week of flexibility exercise.
All of these recommendations are evidence-based and appropriate guidelines for most adults. For kids aged 6 to 17, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day that includes aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activity.
But, it’s safe to say that even your most dedicated clients are finding it difficult to be so regimented during COVID-19. They’re likely struggling to simply get through each day, balancing the stress and anxiety that come with isolation and social distancing with working from home, homeschooling and countless other household responsibilities.
This may be the perfect time to get back to the basics and remind your clients of the power of play.
During a recent ACE webinar entitled “Family Fitness during COVID-19,” Brett Klika, CSCS and CEO of SPIDERfit Kids, stated that parents should be empowered to loosen the reins on not only their own workouts, but also on their kids’ physical activity.
The challenge for health coaches and exercise professionals is to develop well-rounded exercise sessions that are fun for the whole family but also address all elements of physical fitness. Ideas include relay races, circuit training, obstacle course and a sense of friendly competition. People don’t have to be aware of exactly how an activity targets a particular element of fitness for it to be effective and beneficial.
Also, it’s important to educate your clients on how to stay active on days when you don’t have sessions together (see below for some great resources). Since many of your clients are likely homeschooling for the first time, encourage them to integrate physical activity into their daily lives, perhaps as physical education during the “school day” or as a break when mom and dad stop working for 30 minutes and join the kids for some active play.
Prior to this pandemic, many adults viewed exercise as an add-on to their daily routines. Perhaps they stopped at the gym on the way to or from work or got a quick workout in during their lunch break. Exercise is often seen as personal time to reset away from family, which is one reason many people say they don’t have the time to exercise as often as they know they should.
This is the perfect opportunity to remind clients that physical activity can instead be viewed as a fun family experience when everyone plays, moves and laughs together. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic tradition and lesson learned to carry forward once these trying times are a thing of the past?
The following resources were shared by Brett Klika and the other webinar panelists: Anna Woods, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and founder and owner of sheSTRENGTH and Kathleen Tullie, MBA, founder and executive director of BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success).
- www.powerfulplayground.com: Here, you will find resources to help coaches and families inspire kids to be active, including free videos of PE sessions that you can use with clients or as a resource as you develop your own content. Links to Brett’s content on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and additional websites are also provided. Brett also offers daily live workouts that you can share with clients.
- www.bokskids.org: BOKS, which stands for Build Our Kids’ Success, is a physical–activity program designed to get kids active and establish a lifelong commitment to health and fitness. The At Home Resources page contains tips and strategies that you can implement or share with clients, along with games and activities that you can incorporate into sessions. BOKS also hosts free daily live workouts for kids. Finally, BOKS provides the research behind its programming, which you can share with clients as needed to encourage them to keep their children active.
- www.shestrength.com: Anna offers in-person and at-home training, catering to women through online classes, personal training and small-group training. Her goal is to empower women to embrace their strength, value their worth and define the importance of their personal health by focusing not only on exercise, but also on mindset and nutrition.