If you have young children, the best way to encourage young kids to exercise is to introduce them to games or activities that involve physical activity. If you have older children or teens, get them excited about exercise by allowing them to invite their friends to participate as well. Additionally, all children tend to be motivated by goals, competition, the tracking of progress, and rewards.
Could your children benefit from having more physical activity in their lives? Try these 10 creative ways to get your kids moving so they can avoid becoming part of America’s obesity statistic.
1. Walk your pets
Instead of opening the back door to allow your pets outside to do their business, invite your entire family to walk the dog together at least once a day. During the week, walk the dog at nighttime after dinner, and on weekends, stroll through the neighborhood in the morning or afternoon. A family walk can be fun and adventurous.
2. Engage in a variety of activities
Keep exercise exciting by doing something different every day, or at least every weekend. For example, go bowling one day, and do gardening or lawn work the next. Or, designate a few days to going to a local park so everyone can do what they love best, such as skateboarding, running, or kicking around a soccer ball.
3. Invite your kids’ friends
Most children will have more fun getting involved with exercise if their friends can come along, too. Organize a hiking trip, or host an exercise event at home with healthy food and snacks provided for your kids and their friends.
4. Track your kids’ exercise progress
Although apps and smartphones are everyone’s go-to tracking tools in today’s society, keep in mind that certain visual aids can be more motivating than technology. Hang up a wall calendar in the kitchen and mark down what your children do for exercise every day. If your daughter runs two miles, mark it on the calendar. If your son roller blades for 45 minutes, write it down. Seeing these visual reminders will help motivate them to keep it up!
5. Turn chores into games
Nobody likes doing household chores, including adults. Turn all chores into games to make them more enjoyable for the entire family. For example, host a push-up contest during television commercials, or challenge your children to bring in the groceries within a set amount of time.
6. Spend time outdoors
Sunshine is an ideal source of vitamin D, and can help enhance a person’s mood. Whenever possible, take exercise outdoors to allow your family to benefit from the sun’s healthy rays.
7. Start slow at first
If your children are having a difficult time adjusting to an exercise routine, or have physical difficulties with keeping up, scale it back and start slow. Do exercise in five-minute increments at first, then slowly turn that five-minute bike ride into a 10-minute bike ride.
8. Exercise for a good cause
For most kids, the concept of exercising for a good cause can be a major motivating factor. Look into local organizations that host fundraising walks and other activities that contribute to charity. You could even look into participating in local runs that support medical research.
9. Put your kids in charge
Ask your children to choose an activity for your family in an effort to get your kids more excited about exercising. For example, if your daughter loves playing jump rope, have a jump rope contest or play a variety of jump rope games. If your son enjoys soccer, host a small soccer game with friends and family members.
10. Be as creative as possible
Don’t allow weather, lack of access to the gym, and other factors prevent you and your family from exercising. Try a series of new, outside-of-the-box ideas to keep your family moving. For example, play fitness games that require you to exercise on your video game console, or sign up for horse-riding lessons. Be as creative as you can when devising new activities for your family to enjoy.