Keeping your kids active and healthy during a pandemic

Posted at 4:48 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 17:22:24-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Kids have a ton of energy, but instead of playing at recess and walking from class-to-class, quarantine is causing many of them to spend more time in front of computer screens.

Carli Bruni, a CrossFit Instructor/Instructor of Youth Programming at Takeover Athletics and a Mom of three, said movement needs to become a priority again.

"It helps your physical body, but it also helps your mental body and especially with the times we're in right now I want to be able to build that into kids," she said.

If you're a parent she said to start by making exercise a fun family activity, "it's really hard to have kids do things when you're just standing there watching, but as soon as you get involved they want to do it."

Bruni said during the Kids Class she teaches at Takeover, she plays a game called Hungry, Hungry Hippos where she places balls of different sizes in a pile in the middle of the room. Then she makes the kids either run, bear crawl or crab walk to the center of the pile, pick up a ball and bring the ball back to their corner.

While she does this at the gym with her Kids Class, she said it can be done in your home living room and you can use socks instead of balls.

"For kids 12, 13 and under it's really about energy expenditure. Like - all right I'm gonna time you for three minutes to see how many times you can run around the house or how many times you can run to the mailbox and back," Bruni said.

Coupled with exercise, kids also need to have proper nutrition.

Carlin Rafie, an Assistant Professor in Virginia Tech's Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise said unfortunately obesity rates in children have been on the rise.

"We're seeing rising rates of early onset type two diabetes, the diabetes that normally was associated with older adults as they gained weight and became less physically active, right now seeing appear in young children," she said. "Nowadays when we have so much access to processed foods and fast foods and mothers and fathers are both working outside of the home often times I'm not sure that we give enough thought to how we're teaching our children to eat."

She said especially during quarantine, while everyone is either working or learning from home, parents should have healthy snack options like fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods.

"What's neat is in the grocery store now you can actually get some some of those fruits and vegetables already prepared and ready for snacking," she said.

Rafie said children need a good structure when it comes to nutrition, being physically active and maintaining appropriate body weight.

She said, "as much as we put an emphasis on making sure we have a mask on our face when we walk out the door we can also make sure that we and our children are eating in such a way as to enhance our immune system."

Takeover Athletics also offers free weight-lifting session for high school students Monday-Friday. For details email

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