Tag: kids fitness

Kids On The Move—Getting Kids To Exercise And Have Fun Along The Way

Kids On The Move—Getting Kids To Exercise And Have Fun Along The Way

It can seem like a daunting task to get kids to exercise, but it can be fun and enjoyable when everyone joins in for a good dose of playtime.

When thinking about exercise, most adults see images like the gym, a treadmill, or a weight rack.  But for kids, when they are playing or being physically active, it can count as exercise.  It sounds too simple, almost sneaky even, but running, jumping, climbing trees, riding bikes, even building a snowman can improve a child’s health and fitness.

Exercise isn’t just important for adults, but kids need regular exercise too, and there is no age discrimination when it comes to the benefits of exercise, which sets the foundation for a lifetime of fitness and good mental and physical health. Kids who are active will have stronger muscles and bones, are less likely to become overweight, decrease the risk of developing health conditions like type 2 diabetes, and can even sleep better and handle mental and emotional challenges better. No need to go into the details with the kids, though, because they just wanna have fun.

Kids can have an aversion to things that their parents say are good for them, like eating Brussels sprouts or brushing teeth, and exercise can fall into the same category if parents don’t approach it in a fun and encouraging way. Last weekend I watched as a dad stood behind the treadmill looming over his kids as his pre-teen son and daughter trudged through a workout. Yea, good luck keeping those kids motivated to exercise.

Playtime can mean exercise time, and kids can improve endurance by something as simple as running around and playing tag, or they can increase muscle strength by something as fun as crossing the monkey bars. And by helping kids participate (and even joining the fun), in age-appropriate activities, whether tag football or a serious game of duck-duck-goose, parents can get children coming back for more. The family that exercises together stays happy and healthy together.

Encourage Fitness — Do As I Say And As I Do

Encourage Fitness — Do As I Say And As I Do

Parents influence kids every day with words and actions, and when mom and dad regularly encourage kids to be active, they help kids to appreciate fitness and have fun along the way.

 

Teaching practical life skills is one of the many roles that parents have. Things like how to brush teeth, how to tell time, how to tie shoes, and research now suggests that another one to add to the list is how to be healthy and active.

 

It’s never too late to start a healthy habit, especially with kids. Kids like to move, and though it is highly unlikely that a child goes from couch potato to Olympian, there are several ways parents can influence their children to exercise.

 

While verbal encouragement or logistical support, such as driving kids to soccer practice, is important, parents’ attitudes about health and fitness and their own patterns of physical activity are equally as important, since kids often follow by example.

 

Being active together has shown to have a significant impact on how kids view exercise, but it often goes down as a child’s age goes up.  Younger children are more likely to want to spend time being active with their parents than teenagers, so there may be a window of opportunity to use it before losing it when it comes to co-activity.

 

And even though the sphere of influence on kids can be far and wide from friends to teachers to Sponge Bob, few are as direct and important as parents .

 

Children are well known for their contrary nature. Tell them to do something, and quite often they will do the opposite. So trying to force children to exercise may not be the best strategy.

 

Every parent has his or her way of approaching life lessons, but the idea with fitness is to get children to appreciate being active, and have a little fun along the way. “Because I said so” may work for putting the dishes away, but encouragement, celebrating small victories, and doing things together can be effective ways to motivate kids to get fit and stay active. And no child wants their brain to turn to mush because of too much television.

 

Whether is it sports, riding bikes, a martial arts class, or walking the dog every night, it is important to consistently present each opportunity in a positive light.  It may take a bit of time and patience, but when children find the fun in being active, fitness can become a part of everyday life.

 

When kids are active at a young age, the habit can last throughout their lifetime, and influencing kids to be active at an early age is no different than teaching them the golden rule or respecting their elders. So it’s time to put fitness right up there with teaching children how to ride a bike and that  there’s no hiding a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

 

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