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Back to School Fitness Tips for Distance Learners

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Backtoschool FMP

If your kids are doing distance learning, you've probably already turned part of your home into a schoolroom. But have you thought about back to school fitness?

Back to school fitness is always a focus when schools go back in session, but many kids are being homeschooled right now.

If your child is a distance learner and you're working from home, knowing how to keep them active throughout the day is crucial to help all of you stay sane and maintain optimal health.

Keep reading for some great back to school fitness and healthy eating tips!

Don’t let the kids sit around and watch TV or play video games when school is out! Get the whole family fit with this home workout routine for kids!

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Create a Back to School Fitness Routine

As you do when setting a virtual class schedule, work a back to school fitness plan into your child's home school routine.

Have them complete some physical activity at about the same time each day (or multiple times during the day) for consistency.

Give your kids a copy of their schedule so they know what to expect.

A sample back to school fitness and healthy eating plan might consist of:

  • 8:00 am: wake up and eat breakfast
  • 8:30 am: begin school work
  • 10:00 am: exercise/activity break/play outside
  • 10:30 am: snack break
  • 10:45 am: resume school work
  • Noon: exercise/activity break/play outside
  • 12:30 pm: lunch
  • 12:45 pm: resume school work
  • 2:30 pm: exercise/activity break/play outside
  • 3:00 pm: afternoon snack break
  • 3:15 pm: resume schoolwork or other activities
  • 5:00/5:30 pm: eat dinner
  • 6:00 pm: activities with family, friends, or sports teams
  • 8:00 pm: evening snack
  • 8:30 pm: reading
  • 9:00 pm: bedtime

Set up your and your children's schedule based on your lifestyle, preferences, work schedule, and other activities you must get done.

Keep a List of At-Home Exercises

Keep a list of at-home exercises for your kids to choose from, even if you're working from home and can't supervise them.

Examples include:

Indoor/Outdoor Cardiovascular Activities

  • 50 jumps
  • 5 minutes of jogging in place
  • 100 jumping jacks
  • 2 minutes of rope jumping
  • 5 minutes of running up and downstairs
  • 50 burpees

Indoor/Outdoor Resistance Training Exercises

  • 50 walking lunges
  • 50 squats or jump squats20
  • 50 sit-ups or crunches
  • 50 Russian twists
  • 1-2 minutes of plank holds
  • 20 leg raises
  • 1-2 minutes of wall squat holds
  • 50 push-ups
  • 10 pull-ups
  • Weightlifting for older children

Fun Outdoor Activities

  • Trampoline jumping
  • Riding bikes
  • Jogging
  • Playing at a park
  • Playing basketball
  • Playing soccer
  • Roller skating
  • Skateboarding
  • Riding scooters
  • Hopscotch
  • Swimming

Encourage your children to mix and match exercises they most enjoy, and change up their routine often!

This home workout routine for kids will help your children get fit!

Consider Workout Apps or Videos

Working parents don't always have time to supervise back to school fitness plans for home-schooled children, which is why using workout videos or apps comes in handy.

Consider kid-friendly fitness apps, active video games, or free online fitness classes designed with children's needs in mind.

Examples include:

Sworkit Kids

Sworkit Kids offers a variety of kids' workouts for children of all ages.

You can choose the intensity and difficulty level, so it's perfect for beginner, intermediate, or advanced athletes.

Sworkit Kids offers customized workouts that improve your child's agility, strength, and flexibility!

NFL Play 60

NFL Play 60 lets your children play virtual games, train, and prepare them for sports competitions.

They can dance, jump, and complete other types of physical activity as they mimic what their sports player does in the app!

GoNoodle

The GoNoodle app keeps kids moving while having a blast at the same time.

It offers short, interactive videos that help your child control their energy, mindfulness, and focus.

The more they move, the better their game character becomes.

Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run! is a fun workout app your children will love.

It allows them to run away from zombies they can listen to during workouts, and push harder than they might normally run.

Your child simply needs to put on their headphones and running shoes, and begin the game!

Encourage them to run with you, or stay in the yard or neighborhood during running workouts to stay safe.

Just Dance Now

If your child loves to dance, consider the Just Dance Now app!

It allows your child to move with choreographed songs, without the need for a video game console.

They can dance to more than 500 songs to keep their body moving while having a blast.

Kids Fitness – Yoga

Kids Fitness – Yoga is a yoga app that guides your child through a variety of relaxing yoga poses.

Complete yoga with your child if you have time, or have them do yoga while you're working from home!

Wii Fit

Fitness video games, such as Wii Fit, keep your children entertained while they stay active.

They'll even look forward to back to school fitness with Wii Fit!

Are your kids struggling to stay active lately? Try this family workout in the backyard!

Get Active With Your Kids

Make time during your busy day, whenever possible, to join your kids for physical activity.

Go for a bike ride or walk together as a family, play outdoor sports with your children, or complete indoor exercises with your kids to keep them motivated and maintain a healthy weight.

Create Meal and Snack Schedules

Whether you're a kid or parent participating in virtual learning or at-home working, overeating is easy to do when you're home most of the day in front of a computer screen.

Setting a meal and snack schedule is beneficial for you, your kids, and your entire family.

Try to stick with the schedule as much as you can.

It might consist of three meals plus two or three smaller snacks throughout the day.

Choose healthy foods, so you don't have to limit portion sizes for your children.

Encourage them to stay active with effective back to school fitness routines.

Offer Healthy Meals and Snacks

Eating healthy is just as important as back to school fitness for kids of all ages, as it's one of the most important factors to consider when trying to maintain a healthy weight.

Sample healthy meals and snacks to consider when completing at-home learning for children include:

Breakfast Ideas

  • Whole-grain (low-sugar) cereal with low-fat milk or plant milk, berries, and nuts
  • Scrambled eggs with fruit, avocado toast, and Greek yogurt
  • Oatmeal with hard-boiled eggs, fruit, and milk
  • A protein bar with milk or juice
  • A bagel with peanut butter and banana slices

Lunch Ideas

  • Peanut butter and (reduced-sugar) jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread with reduced-fat string cheese, cucumbers, and milk
  • Tuna salad (or chicken salad) sandwich on whole-grain bread with carrot sticks and Greek yogurt
  • Grilled chicken over leafy greens with whole-grain breadsticks or crackers, and low-fat cottage cheese
  • Chicken noodle soup (or chicken and rice soup) with vegetables, plus yogurt or milk
  • Tacos (or taco salad) made with ground turkey and taco seasoning, plus veggies and avocado slices on whole-grain tortillas. Serve with milk or juice.

Dinner Ideas

  • Salmon or catfish with green beans plus corn on the cob
  • Grilled chicken or shrimp over whole-grain pasta (drizzled with olive oil and seasonings), plus broccoli or asparagus
  • Turkey or veggie burgers on whole-grain buns, topped with greens, tomatoes, pickles, and avocados
  • Chili made with ground turkey or shredded chicken, veggies, and beans
  • Chicken (or salmon, shrimp, steak, or tofu) kabobs grilled with mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers

Snack Ideas

  • Protein bars
  • Protein smoothies
  • Greek yogurt with fruit or nuts
  • Pretzels or veggies dipped in hummus
  • Reduced-fat string cheese
  • Fruit with peanut, almond, or cashew butter
  • Cottage cheese topped with seeds
  • Trail mix containing nuts, pretzels or whole-grain cereal, and raisins (or other dried fruit)

Create protein smoothies for you and your kids by blending together ice, fruit, plant milk (or low-fat milk), and protein powder of your choice. Mix in nut butter if you'd like!

You might not have time for meal prep during the workweek.

If that's the case, prep a few meals on the weekend, place smaller portions in air-tight containers in the refrigerator or freezer, and simply heat up the meals when you're tight on time.

Learn how to make kids eat healthier — this video will guide you through healthy eating for families.

Additional Back to School Fitness Tips

In addition to getting plenty of physical activity and eating healthy meals and snacks during virtual learning with your children, consider the following back-to-school healthy lifestyle tips to optimize your child's growth, development, and energy:

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Encourage your child to drink water as much as possible throughout the day to stay hydrated, and consume 2-3 servings of milk, yogurt, or plant-based, calcium-rich alternatives daily.

Avoid sugary drinks in favor of diluted 100% fruit juice or water flavored with fruit chunks.

If your child is getting enough fluids, their urine should be clear or light yellow in color.

Limit or Avoid Certain Foods

Limit or avoid certain foods and drinks to give your child the best chance of maintaining a healthy weight.

Foods to steer clear of include soda, lemonade, sweet tea, other sugar-sweetened beverages, fried foods, sweets, white bread, other highly processed grains, fatty cuts of red meat, and processed meats (ham, salami, deli meat, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, etc.).

Limit or avoid gravies, sugar-sweetened salad dressings, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and other condiments containing added sugar.

Struggling to find snacks that are healthy for your family? Try these 5 healthy snacks you can make at home!

Set and Track Goals

Encourage your child to set goals, and reward them for meeting those goals whenever possible.

Have your child set targets for grades in school, minutes of daily physical activity, chores around the house, drinking enough water, getting plenty of sleep, and additional healthy lifestyle habits as needed.

Encourage them to write down goals and track progress over time.

Offer your child non-food rewards for meeting goals.

Examples include allowance, time with friends, sporting events, movies, swimming, other fun kids' activities, or even a vacation.

Prioritize Sleep

Sleep is important at any age, but especially in children as it helps them focus at school, maintain energy throughout the day, and grow and develop at a healthy pace.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children and adults get the following number of hours of sleep during each 24-hour period:

  • Newborns: 14-17 hours
  • Infants: 12-16 hours
  • Toddlers: 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers: 10-13 hours
  • School-aged children: 9-12 hours
  • Teenagers: 8-10 hours
  • Adults: 7-9 hours

To optimize sleep quality, have your child sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room and go to bed at the same time each night.

They should have a snack before bed if they're hungry, but encourage your child to avoid added sugar (and caffeine) late in the evening and at night.

While physical activity is important, encourage them to do something calm and relaxing before bed, such as reading.

Have your children avoid looking at blue light (TV, phone, computer, or tablet screens) right before they go to sleep.

Check out these 7 tips for getting better sleep.

What if My Child is Overweight?

If your child is overweight, don't bring it to their attention or make them feel bad about it.

Simply encourage them to be more active throughout the day, rather than restricting calories.

Prompt your child to fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, or green beans.

The other half of their plate should consist of protein foods (chicken, turkey, tofu, eggs, fish, seafood, etc.) plus fiber-rich starches like sweet potatoes, corn, peas, dried beans, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, or other whole grains.

Don't keep soda, candy bars, ice cream, or other high-sugar foods in the house.

Reserve those foods for special occasions only, or steer clear of them altogether.

We are not living in easy times. Find out how to stay positive in hard times and become a happier person!

Get Started with Back to School Fitness

When focusing on back to school fitness, the first step is setting up your child's virtual learning schedule.

Add at least one physical activity session to their daily routine, and encourage your child to work up to being physically active two to three times daily.

Playing outside, doing yard work or house chores, and walking the dog counts as physical activity, as it doesn't always consist of organized workouts.

If you're looking for ways to improve nutrition, fitness, and overall health in your own life, the Fit Mother Project can help!

FMP weight loss, fat-burning, and muscle-building programs help you get and stay fit for a lifetime — despite a hectic schedule!

You can easily complete FMP workouts from the comfort of home.

Try the Fit Mother 30X weight loss plan for women if dropping weight is your goal, or sign up for a free meal plan and workout today!

Back to school fitness has never been easier!

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Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on back to school fitness.

 

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