What are the benefits of obstacle course training for kids? For starters, incorporating obstacle courses into a child's physical activity regimen promotes health and fitness. While challenging, running, climbing, jumping, crawling, swimming, and balancing can be fun.
Not only that, but obstacle courses help kids learn to take turns, communicate, and listen to directions. Hot Ground Gym in Arlington Heights and Libertyville offers kids obstacle course classes, and have seen first-hand how great they are for building self-esteem, character, and people skills.
Obstacle course benefits are plentiful, as you'll discover when reading this blog.
What Is an Obstacle Course?
An obstacle course is a series of physical challenges designed to test participants' agility, strength, and endurance. Obstacle courses typically involve various physical activities such as running, climbing, jumping, crawling, and balancing.
Take Hot Ground Gym, founded in 2013 by military veterans and former first responders - we transform obstacle course training into unique fitness challenges for children aged 5 to 14 to promote active fun, character development, and confidence-building.
We offer classes for children and adults, camps, and team-building activities. Libertyville and Arlington Heights, Illinois, are the proud homes of our revolutionary way of staying healthy and motivated.
Top 9 Reasons Obstacle Course-Based Activities Are Ideal for Your Child's Development
From building confidence and problem-solving skills to improving physical coordination and balance, the benefits of obstacle course training can help your children reach their potential.
#1. Encourages Physical Growth
Moving through an obstacle course for kids is challenging. It is the hardest way to move around. However, the movement through obstacle courses requires elevated cardiovascular output, utilization, and training of large muscle groups, and the engagement of the deepest part of a child’s body-brain connection that will grow a child’s physical strength and “abilities” in months, not years.
#2. Enhances Memorization and Adaptability (Resilience)
Running through an indoor or outdoor obstacle course requires memorization and the ability to adapt to complete tasks successfully and safely. First, memorization is needed for not only where to go but how to negotiate a prescribed obstacle correctly and safely when arriving at it. Second, adaptability, conditions arise in life which we must adapt to continue.
In the military, this was referred to as “Semper Gumby” (always flexible) or “If you don’t bend, you will break” to drive the point home that the ability to adapt is needed for success. So, sometimes a child may choose another option for completing a task (if the task is too challenging initially), may decide to move around another student, or may choose to help another student that needs encouragement.
When provided with a general task, they may decide how to complete it. This type of problem-solving in “real-time” makes a great thinker and a good leader, but most importantly increases a child’s resilience. “Find a way; there is almost always a way”. And this is one of the other important benefits of an obstacle course.
#3. Empowers Through Physical Challenges
How does an obstacle course promote physical development? Well, when children learn from a young age that they can complete an obstacle task, they feel empowered, in the same way that an athlete might feel for winning a game, race, or match.
A child will feel accomplished for “passing the test” of their physical abilities when they complete an obstacle course. This is hugely important for fueling the desire for further physical development in the child, provides a child with the ability to “gauge” their physical strength on a realistic scale, and can be essential for their self-esteem.
Challenge Your Kids at Hot Ground Gym!
Give your kids the thrill of conquering our exciting Junior Boots obstacle courses! With locations in Arlington Heights and Libertyville, we offer fun physical challenges for ages 5-14. Sign up today!
#4. Boosts Balance and Coordination
Obstacle training drastically improves coordination and balance. With ever-changing terrain, kids must stay alert and maintain their balance. They have to coordinate different body parts to do this. With balance skills developed, they gain increased strength and flexibility.
As they move from one obstacle to the next, they become increasingly reliant upon their coordination and balance. Regularly participating in obstacle training substantially improves coordination and balance.
#5. Strengthens Body-Brain Connection
Motor planning is what sequence of steps to take to complete a task, motor control is the ability to use fine and gross muscle control to achieve a specific task, and motor coordination is the ability to use multiple muscle groups to accomplish a coordinated task.
Obstacle courses for children completed not once but continued over time are among the best strengthening tools to increase fine motor skills and gross motor skills relating to the body-brain connection in your child.
#6. Offers the Best “Kids Active Fun”
Kids grow up going to the “park” and playing on the cool equipment. This is great when they are younger and lighter. But as they grow into pre-pubescent times and beyond, the desire to play on the playground gives way to the dreaded “screen monster”. Try as we might, the screens will be a large part of our children’s lives, as it is for our lives now.
So any chance to get them out and to move is great! One of the best compliments we always receive from our students is, “I am tired and probably will be a little sore, but man, that was fun”. An obstacle race for kids is a challenging physical outlet essential for maintaining a balance of physical and mental development.
Plus, we as parents always feel less guilty for our children being on the screens if they have already completed some physical activity that day. That helps us in our household.
#7. Improves Communication
Working together on an obstacle course helps children develop communication skills, preparing them for social situations, which is often a skill children struggle with. Working together also encourages them to interact and talk to each other to make it through the course, thereby practicing their communication skills in a fun and engaging way.
By communicating effectively to succeed, kids learn to understand each other better, listen, and be more receptive to ideas. Improved communication helps as they grow older and have to work together on future projects inside and outside the workplace.
#8. Diversifies Deep Pressure Sensory Input
Obstacle courses expose children to sensory inputs such as linear movements, sagittal planes, proprioception, and rotary motions. Engaging with these develops a kid's ability to adjust to changing environments swiftly.
Such experiences refine motor skills, coordination, and problem-solving strategies. As children develop sensory processing skills, they become more confident in their abilities, and they can increase their difficulty level to challenge themselves further.
Conquer Obstacles at Hot Ground Gym!
Push your kids to new heights on our thrilling obstacle classes! Swing, climb, balance, and more at our premier gyms in Arlington Heights and Libertyville. Physical confidence starts here - enroll today!
#9. Combat Stress
The neurochemical health benefits of obstacle courses include minimizing stress. Indoor and outdoor obstacle courses reduce the amount of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol and increase the production of endorphins.
Endorphins are natural painkillers and mood enhancers that give children the "runner's high" and make them feel relaxed and optimistic after a good workout or even a nice shower.
The Difference Between Obstacle Course Classes and Ninja Classes for Kids
Hot Ground Gym's obstacle course and ninja classes both boost fine and gross motor skill development, strength, agility, and coordination, but there are some key differences between the two.
Categories of Obstacle Classes
Hot Ground Gym's after-school obstacle fitness classes are separated into three age groups (according to age) and feature indoor obstacle course fitness activities and team-building challenges. These activities are designed to develop children's physical, mental, and emotional strength.
Themes change every week and include some of the following:
- Rope courses that involve pulling, dragging, hoisting, climbing, repelling, and knot-tying;
- "Target Practice" weeks with dart, ball, ring, and knife throwing;
- Tires, medicine balls, "carts", grappling hooks, and "pipes" themed classes;
- Role-play rescue themes;
- “Adventure-inspired” Obstacle Course themed classes.
Categories of Ninja Obstacles
The TV show "American Ninja Warrior" has sparked an increase in the number of Ninja Warrior classes available for kids.
At Hot Ground Gym, kids of all ages can find a class that suits their skill level - from toddlers in tumble classes to teens training for the American Ninja Warrior Junior tryouts. The classes are designed to be fun, energetic, and challenging, and usually take place in our kids' fitness gym.
Activities include elements of gymnastics, parkour, and martial arts, such as:
- Floor Skills
The Bottom Line
Getting children through the obstacle courses quickly and safely, doing exercises to support that, working on completing team-building challenges together, and having them assist each other in the process is what, in our humble opinion, makes Hot Ground Gym in Arlington Heights and Libertyville an excellent place for kids to develop with. Enroll your kid today in physical activity fun!
Experience Adventure at Hot Ground Gym!
Discover camps, obstacle courses, and teambuilding activities at Hot Ground Gym. Locations in Arlington Heights and Libertyville, IL. Book your adventure today!