In 2018, 33 percent of Americans now own wearable health devices, and 46 percent are using apps for healthcare. Beyond the marketing, it turns out these devices and apps are actually working for people who want to become more physically fit. A study by the Journal of Medical Internet Research found users of fitness apps are actually more likely to exercise during their leisure time, compared to those who do not use exercise apps at all.
But what does this mean for kids? Interestingly, as connected wellness has become popular among adults, fitness apps and devices have also emerged that cater directly to children. This means you can teach your children to use technology positively, without sitting on the couch. Instead of removing screen time, try implementing some of the devices and apps below that can help your child be more health conscious.
The Fitbit Ace was developed specifically for children eight and over. The device allows your child to set customizable goals for their total daily steps and active minutes, and acknowledges the achievement of these milestones with fun celebration messages and badges. You can also create an account with the fitbit app, which will enable you to track your child’s activity and progress.
This app enables young children (aged four and up) to learn about food classifications and nutrition. Children can use This is My Food to become familiar with various groceries and to gain information about digestion. The app even offers kids the option to plant their own herbs at home while documenting the process in the app through a special photo and audio feature. This is My Food also asks questions like “is this a vegetable or a fruit?” and “where does this grow?” to help children learn more about the things they eat in a game that is age appropriate.
Super Stretch Yoga provides kids with an educational fitness program, regardless of their skill level. The app encourages children to try different yoga poses through non-competitive activities, and in its description even states “kids don’t have to be athletes, flexible or fit to do this”. To simplify the yoga poses, characters within the app illustrate the positions to give kids a reference. For example, a cartoon dog demonstrates the Downward Dog pose. Super Stretch Yoga HD aims to teach children coordination and creativity, and hopes to build a foundation for their lifelong love of physical fitness.
Rated 12+, this unique app has over one million players, making it the largest smartphone fitness game. Zombies, Run! works as your child or teen walks, jogs, or runs. The game contains over 200 missions in which users are transported into a zombie apocalypse to become a runner en-route to one of humanity’s last remaining outposts. As users are ‘chased’ by zombies they must speed up, which keeps their walk or run entertaining. The app allows users to gather supplies and rescue survivors, all while listening to the mission and music through their headphones. Zombies, Run! can be synced online so users can track their progress, and also provides interval training.
Sworkit Kids enables parents to turn fitness into a game through customizable workouts for strength, agility, and flexibility. Kids aged 7 to 14 can navigate age appropriate challenges like, “how long can you hop on one foot?” to increase their physical fitness, and to have fun while doing so. Sworkit is designed for all abilities and promotes the idea that fitness workouts can be done anywhere, anytime.