Calisthenics have become increasingly a bigger part of our kids classes here.
Remember when we were kids? Pretty much every hour we weren't asleep or at school, we were outside. Whether it was sports, or just running around the neighborhood, we were active. It was rare to find kids who were utterly inactive.
But that's more and more the case now. Childhood obesity and diabetes are out of control and will only get worse in adulthood. That's why, besides teaching practical martial arts in our kids classes, we have them jumping, ducking, squatting, sprawling, and everything in between. Kids really do like to move around and they get plenty of it here.
Not only do kids need exercise in the here-and-now (to combat sedentary video-game playing and commercially-influenced diets) but to build an enjoyment and appreciation for activity that will stay with them in the future. Kids who are physical tend to stay physical through their teen years and into adulthood, because exercise becomes a habit and a lifestyle.
So whether a child sticks with martial arts lessons or not, they begin to internalize a love for movement and motion. And that's as healthy a trait as confidence, focus, discipline, and all the other things martial arts are known for imparting.
PS: Yes, we have kids here who can do 100 pushups in under three minutes. We had an eleven year-old girl who was the pushup champion of her elementary school, beating out the boys by a substantial margin!