When kids start talking about wanting to work out it’s usually because it’s a common topic of discussion in your household. If parents are gym regulars, it’s only a matter of time until the youngest family members want in on the fun, and before long it will be a full family affair. But children and younger teens aren’t quite ready to jump into your gym routine...yet.

Kids seem to have an unlimited supply of cardiovascular endurance – they run everywhere and rarely need a break! We want to find ways to encourage them to build muscular strength and endurance, coordination and balance as well. Exercises, activities and games that include body weighted exercises, small weights and resistance bands are all great ways to introduce strength, balance and coordination to your fitness protege.

Here are some workout ideas based on the age of your child:

4-10 years old – School aged kids need fun, high energy workouts, like circuits and relays, to keep them moving and engaged. At this age, the workout should encourage kids to move their body weight in a variety of different directions, at different levels, using as much of their whole body as possible.

Types of exercises:  walking lunges, jump squats, side to side pushups, jumping jacks and burpees.

10-14 years old – Tweens are in transition, both physically and developmentally. They want to do adult workouts but they don’t quite have all the capacity they need, yet. They aren’t fully grown and still don’t fit on the fitness equipment at a gym or fitness centre.  Until they reach full physical development (post puberty), they are continually learning how to move their growing bodies, which can make them clumsy and uncoordinated. This is the perfect opportunity for group training. Find a group of fitness-minded kids and get them moving together to work on coordination and strength.

Types of exercises: agility ladders, box jumps, commando crawls, tug of war pull and battle ropes.

14-18 years old – Teens can participate in the same training routines adults can. Focus on exercises they enjoy and work toward achieving their fitness goals, while maintaining variety in their routines. Don’t forget about activities like swimming, yoga or cycling in addition to strength training. Learning proper technique from a personal trainer in the beginning of any fitness regime is always a great idea, particularly for those that are new to strength training.

Types of exercises: progressive strength training that includes all muscle groups in a full range of motion to prevent injury and over-training alignment issues. The fitness program should balance a variety of factors, including cardio, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.

The most important part? Cheer them on! Kids of all ages thrive on parents’ love and support. The best thing you can do is to encourage your kids to stay active. Better yet, be there alongside them!