How To Get Your Kids To Exercise
It seems much harder nowadays to get kids to be active. Seemingly gone are the days when kids would bike or rollerblade around the block. With gadgets like phones, tablets, video games, gaming consoles, and more, it’s nearly impossible to get kids to even look up from their screens.
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help things either. On top of the academic restrictions keeping kids further indoors, sports and group activities also became limited or canceled. Whether you are a working parent or full-time caretaker, finding the time for you or your children to exercise can be overwhelming. Not to mention trying to motivate them to even do so!
Sticking to an exercise program can be challenging under the best of circumstances. But exercise is critical not only for your own well-being, but that of your kids as well. It should be a top priority.
Why Should Kids Exercise?
Kids need to get an appropriate amount of exercise to be healthy. There are several benefits of exercise for children. Regular exercise can increase bone health in children. Weight-bearing activities can develop stronger bones and muscles to enhance muscular strength and stability. This is important while they are still growing, but can also help them avoid physical problems later in life. Working out as a child can strengthen muscles and increase cardiovascular health. Aerobic exercises help increase breathing and heart rate to strengthen the heart to decrease the odds of developing heart disease. And according to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise can change the brain to improve memory and thinking skills!
How To Get Kids To Exercise
Like we mentioned before, getting your kids excited about physical activity may not be a walk in the park (pun intended). But as you can see, there are countless ways that regular exercise can improve your kids’ lives. These tips can help you nudge your kids in the right direction.
Lead By Example
To no one’s surprise, exercise is not just critical for your kids’ well-being, but it should be a top priority for yourself as well. Not only will this commitment to physical fitness enhance your overall health, but it also provides you an opportunity to exhibit healthy behavior for your children. You, as their parent, need to be your child’s health and wellness role model, as well as practice what you preach. It will be hard to get them excited about exercising if you don’t seem excited about it first.
Kids learn much from following their parents’ example, so make working out a part of family time. Look for fun activities you can do together, whether it’s taking a walk outside, or having a dance party in your living room.
Get Their Friends Involved
Another great idea is to create a social network centered around fitness. Reach out to the parents in your kid’s friend group about planning group activities. You can be creative here or make plans based on your kids’ interests, but some examples can be organizing a weekly game of ultimate frisbee or capture the flag, turning your swimming pool into a water aerobics or swim class, finding a park to play baseball, soccer or football, or just having playtime at a local park or backyard.
Focus On Fun, Not Figure
Be careful not to focus on weight or figure when encouraging physical fitness. While the focus should be improving health and wellness, it should also be fun. Make sure you stress that exercise is about fun, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle. Many teens already struggle with body image issues, especially as their bodies change, so it’s important to help your kids feel healthy and confident in their skin.
Make sure your home is a fun, supportive, and judgment-free zone where health is prioritized over size or weight. Motivate physical activity with positivity rather than competition or comparison between siblings or friends. And motivate them when they hit fitness milestones to ensure a positive experience with exercise.