6 Easy Ways to Make Exercise a Part of Your Kid's Day

You don’t have to be a genius (or an athlete) to understand the importance exercise plays in keeping our bodies fit and healthy. Research has consistently shown the negative impact a sedentary life plays on our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

As parents, we have to make certain that our children get plenty of exercise, and teach them to form a healthy attitude about regular physical activity in their lives. This process begins with us and our own attitude about exercise. Do we value exercise enough to make it a priority in our daily life? Do we eat more calories than our body can burn off? Are we too exhausted or busy to work out regularly?

On an average, children spend nearly 3 hours a day in front of the television or playing video games, and only half of them exercise. It’s no wonder diabetes is on the rise. Some children don’t like to exercise, but teaching them the importance of a good exercise routine won’t just benefit them now, but it will be an insurance policy for later in life.

Our little humans need exercise, not just to maintain physical health, but also as an outlet to help them discharge the stresses in their lives. And they don’t have to play an organized sport in order to get exercise – they can receive all of the physical activity they need simply by having us orchestrate 20-30 minute blocks of play time each day to run and roll about with their friends or siblings.

How to Get Them Moving

Exercise isn’t an issue for all children, but for those who prefer to stay inside glued to some kind of an electronic device, it may take some work on our part to get them up and moving. The great thing about exercise is that after 15 minutes or so, the brain begins releasing feel-good chemicals throughout the body so our little ones will feel calmer and happier. Here are some ideas that I found to be successful in keeping my family active:

Take a Nightly Stroll

As soon my kids were able to walk, we began taking nightly walks after dinner. It was a great way to speed up their digestion, help calm them down for bed and teach them the importance of creating an exercise routine. These kinds of routines are great ways to help our children attach positive feelings with exercise.

Have Impromptu Dance Parties

Disco night was a big deal at our house when my kids were young. The house would vibrate with the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever, and we would all dress up in crazy outfits. Not only did it get our hearts pumping, but just like our nightly walks, it taught my children that exercise can be a whole lot of fun. Try club-hopping at your home, too.

Be a Cheering Squad

At the end of the day, I would always make it a point to sit on the porch and watch my kids play soccer. We created little challenges where everyone got a chance to win. When they would rather sit and watch cartoons, I would pretend to be heartbroken that they wouldn’t let me watch how amazing they were. Of course, they could never resist being the center of attraction, so they gave in.

Always Take the Stairs

We always make it a point to walk up the stairs instead of taking escalators and elevators. As soon as it was safe, I took my little ones out of their strollers and let them exercise by simply walking around and moving their little bodies. It meant longer naps for them, and more “me” time while they were out cold.

Plan Regular Outdoor Activities

Going to the zoo, beach, or playground were important events to schedule for many reasons. It meant a day of physical activity, but it also taught my kids the importance of earning something. If they knew that they were going to lose getting the opportunity to do something fun, they were more inclined to follow the rules and behave. Some might call this blackmail, but I prefer to call it “creative bargaining.” Regardless, it worked like a charm.

Make Chores Fun

During the autumn, when leaves would cover the ground like snow, I would bundle my kids up, make hot cocoa, and we would all go outside and make a game out of what most would consider the most tedious chore on the planet – picking up leaves. It never felt like work as we frolicked and threw leaves at each other. Even our pets got involved.

Making any chore into a fun game or activity is a great way for our children’s brains to learn to associate a positive feeling with physical activity. Perhaps that is one reason that both my daughters ended up playing sports and continue to be very physically active.

How do you keep your kids active in their day-to-day routines? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

Tags : health   exercise   fitness   

Katherine Stemp
We often have random dance parties! They also love freeze dance. I'm going to add in evening strolls though. I love the idea of a little walk before bath time