Did you know that the Center for Disease Control has reported that only half of all adults and kids get the amount of exercise that is recommended? This number goes down further yet for kids once they reach adolescence as it is estimated that a mere 3 out of every 10 high school kids get enough exercise.
One way to prevent these low numbers is to make fitness fun. Many kids view fitness as a chore or a punishment and changing that mindset should be a priority. Making fitness fun for kids is a sure way to raise the number of kids exercising and to take a step toward getting these kids healthy!
If you need some ideas, we have put together some easy ways to make fitness fun for kids:
Make it a family priority. Your children are far more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle if they see their parents doing the same.
Play outside more. Encourage your children to play outside more and join them! “Would you like to go outside and play with Mommy and Daddy?” sounds a lot better than “Go outside and play”.
Take regular trips to the park. A trip to the park is always fun for the kids, but it’s far more than that. When your kids are playing at the park they are climbing running and jumping on the playground equipment. This is all exercise! The beauty is, they don’t even know that they are exercising, they just know that they are playing at the park.
Sign them up for sports. If your child has shown an interest in organized sports, make an effort to sign them up and let them play. Organized sports are great for kids in that they build confidence, help them to learn teamwork and most of all, they get exercise and develop healthy habits.
Turn family outings into healthy activities. If you plan on having a family day, work a healthy activity into your plans. Take a nature walk, go swimming, try skiing or hit a hiking trail!
Sign up for local runs (glow runs, mud runs, etc). These are a blast and most have a kids version that are shorter in distance and often less expensive.
Create scavenger hunts. If the kids are home with nothing to do, don’t let them just sit around watching television. Consider setting up a scavenger hunt for them. Give them a list of things to find in your yard and send them with a phone to take pictures of what they found, so they can report it back to you. If you are lost for ideas, give them a theme such as Nature with a list of 10 items (pine cone, a leaf, a bug, a bird, etc.). They will be having so much fun cruising around your yard looking for items, they won’t miss the TV at all.
Play tag. What kid doesn’t love a game of tag? I can just about guarantee that they will especially love playing tag with you. I have even seen tag used as a conditioning tool for some youth sports teams, so this easily counts as exercise!
What activities have you been able to fit into your family’s lifestyle to incorporate more exercise?