Why Is Exercise Important for Kids…And How Do I Get Them Excited About it?
Fitness for kids is crucial. It encourages everything from teamwork to independence to an active and healthy lifestyle…and it’s fun! There are so many benefits of exercise for kids—but they sometimes need help getting interested in trying. If you want to encourage some exercises for kids at home, we’re here to help you get your little ones excited to jump in.
The modern parent sure has a lot on their plate. Our increasingly busy world and lives can sometimes mean that we need to decide on our priorities—and the health of our families tends to be at the top of that list. To help their children stay healthy, most parents encourage a nutritious and varied diet, as well as fun physical activities. However, that doesn’t mean that their kids always want to play along—and that can be frustrating, or even discouraging.
First things first. Here’s a gentle reminder that it’s OK if your children reject the first sport you suggest, or pick all the kale out of their macaroni. Not everything is going to be right for them, just as not every sport or vegetable is your cup of tea. We all have our things. Instead, the idea here—as it often goes with children is to find the right activity or item and encourage their excitement about it. Interest in similar activities (which suit their needs) is likely to follow organically.
As we dive into some of our top suggestions for encouraging fun workouts for kids,we wanted to give you a quick pat on the back. We know how hard you work to be a great parent for your family, and that pulling your little ones off the couch and into a kids workout can feel like a battle. Don’t get discouraged! You are doing a wonderful job by taking steps to helping your family get excited about exercise for kids—and we are here to help.
When encouraging a home workout for kids, it’s crucial to remember that children don’t always think like us. We enjoy a lot more personal freedom than children. So, when “grown-ups” work with a fitness coach, it’s something that we are excited about and enjoy. You might think behaving like a coach toward your child would have the same effect…but it might not.
At the end of the day, you aren’t your child’s personal trainer; you’re their parent. They didn’t hire you, and they likely don’t want you playing coach from the sidelines. Rather, we suggest that you engage with whichever fitness activities for kids you’ve decided to try. It will encourage them to participate and will feel more like teamwork than a job—for both of you!
Have an Adventure!
Hiking is an easy workout for kids, and something they’ll likely continue to enjoy as they get older. Going for a trek with your children is an excellent way to bond, create lasting memories, and get everyone moving. Bonus: If you have nature- or science-loving children, the great outdoors can be both a fitness adventure and an educational excursion. And, while we’re on the subject of learning, we have another idea: If a rainy day ruins your hiking plan, spend the afternoon walking around a museum instead. You’ll get your steps in while you learn new things: win-win!
Invent Fitness Games
For kids, fun is everything. Take a second to remember some of your favorite games from your own childhood. Whether you thought the floor was lava, wouldn’t let a balloon touch the ground, or reigned supreme at Red Rover, one thing remained the same across these activities: they were great exercise.
Games make good workouts for kids because they are FUN…and when kids have fun, they tend to stay focused for longer and enjoy themselves more. So, if your little one loves drawing monsters, hang some up around the house and create a superhero game where you need to find them all as fast as you can. If they love music, throw a freeze-dance party to their favorite tunes. It will encourage a natural love of movement and create happy memories for all of you.
Enlist Your Little Helper
One of our favorite fitness activities for kids? Chores! This is a perfect opportunity for a “two birds with one stone” moment. You can encourage your little ones to safely help around the house as well as stay active. Of course, we’re not suggesting you ask your preschooler to bleach your toilets or move furniture! Rather, seek help with chores that your child can manage and even enjoy, whether that’s raking leaves (and letting them jump in the pile) or making their bed (and then reading a story on top).
Let Them Try Your Workout
Look, we’re not suggesting that you let your seven-year-old try high-intensity weight training, but we do think that it can be helpful to show your family your own favorite fitness exercises. For kids, parental hobbies and interests tend to be fascinating. They love to imitate us, and that presents a perfect opportunity for you to expose them to your healthiest lifestyle traits. So, if you love yoga, teach them some moves—or let them watch and imitate you. As they move through their youth, workouts like push-ups, planks, and squats might also be appropriate. Master them together: You make a great team!
Keep Your Attitude in Check
You set an example for your children. If you show a negative attitude about exercise, your kids may see it as a punishment or job rather than a fun activity that makes them feel good. So, let’s say that you go for a jog every morning before school drop-off. If one morning, you wake up and don’t feel it, skip the run that day. It will set a better example than trudging out of bed and complaining bitterly about the run you “have” to take. Your child will notice that—and when it comes time to run at school, they may very well remember it as a chore rather than a fun activity.
Ask Your Favorite Athletes for Help
One of our favorite things about exercise is that everybody has their own unique set of tips, tricks, and sworn-by favorites. If you’re running out of fun ideas for keeping your kids active, it’s time to outsource. Ask your friends how they keep their children on the move, or speak to the crew at your local gym for suggestions. Many of them are parents themselves and will have loads of creative and exciting activities for you to try out.
Hot tip: if you happen to be in Boise, come and visit us! Our family-friendly team would love to help you create a healthy routine for both yourself and your family…and you can start today! Come and see us to try a free fitness consultation, learn about our classes, coaching options, and much more!