How to Encourage your Children to Exercise

Image courtesy of "photostock"

Image courtesy of “photostock”

As a parent, getting your child on track to live a healthy, productive life is like your number one goal, along with helping them get an education that will brighten their future. A big part of that goal should be teaching your child about the benefits of exercise and getting them into the habit of staying active each and every day.

While getting a child to get on the treadmill at the gym like you do isn’t going to be easy, there are ways you can encourage your child to stay active and get the exercise that they need. In fact, there are so many ways to get your kids to exercise that it shouldn’t be a problem to find one that they like, no matter what they’re interested in.

Find Activities They Love
Children rarely have an interest in rote exercises like the ones you might do at the gym. While they might be great for your body and fitness level, they aren’t a lot of fun for kids, and no kids going to stick with something that they hate without pressure from you.  Instead of getting kids to do boring exercises like calisthenics, find an activity that they love to do. You may need to try a few out at first, but sitting down with your child and asking them if they have an interest in any outdoor activities or sports can help you find the key to getting them to exercise.

Participate In Exercise
Perhaps the easiest way to get your child to exercise is one that’s good for you as an adult and good for your relationship with your child. What you need to do is exercise with your child! Anything your child can do is something you can do, so work around their interests. If they love to play soccer, go out and kick the ball around with them at the park. If they prefer riding their bike, get one of your own and go for safe rides around the neighborhood.  Exercising with your child will help keep them motivated and make the activity a lot more fun. You’ll also end up forming a bond while building a habit that will keep your child healthy their whole life.

Keep it Simple
Let’s face it – most kids don’t have the attention span that adults do. That’s why they’re kids! For that reason, it’s incredibly important that you keep activities simple and to the point, especially when you’re dealing children under the age of 10. If you don’t your child may get frustrated and bored with exercise, which could keep them from wanting to do it in the future. Even worse, it could make them dread it as an adult, which could lead to real health problems or obesity.

Consider Youth Sports
If you have a child that’s interested in sports, finding a youth program in your area could be beneficial for them. In addition to physical activity, they’ll learn about teamwork and likely make new friends.  Ask other parents in your area, visit local parks or talk to somebody at your child’s school for more information on youth sports where you live.

Don’t Overdo It
Just like keeping exercise activities simple, making sure your child doesn’t overdo any physical activity is important. Even if they love playing soccer it doesn’t mean that they should be doing it for three hours each afternoon, especially at first. Encourage your child to get about an hour of exercise per day – maybe a bit more on the weekends if they love what they’re doing. Any more than that, especially if they’re playing a demanding sport, could be too much for a growing body.

Getting a child to exercise shouldn’t be hard – you just have to do it right. Make sure exercise is a fun, positive activity in their lives, not a chore that they have to do like cleaning their room. If you do that, your child will likely make exercise a part of their daily life…even as an adult!

About the Author:Tara Heath is a freelance writer who resides in Southern California. She currently writes for California Special Needs Law GroupBlog as well as other sites dealing with helping and improving children’s lives. In her free time she likes to stay active by taking yoga and playing tennis.

Image credit photostock

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