How To Get Children Excited About Exercise
By Amy Silva
Children should be taught at a young age that exercise is important. It doesn't need to be a conversation about body image, childhood obesity or how they should be worried about their health. Exercise should be fun for kids. But what if a child is not young anymore and they aren't interested in working out because they were never taught? Try these tips to get them started.
Make It Fun
Just like adults, children should enjoy exercise. If they're forced to do something they dislike, they won't have fun and it will be apparent that it's not something they will stick with without being forced. That's no fun for anyone involved and can teach kids to avoid it as much as possible instead of celebrating what their little bodies are capable of.
Keep It Short
When introducing a new workout routine, it can be kept relatively short until they get in the swing of things. Beginning with 30 minutes every few days and adding more time week-by-week isn't as big of a change as asking them to get moving for an hour every day.
Try New Things
Putting children in sports we choose for them isn't always the best idea. Kids should have input as to what they're interested in. Any activity that gets them moving is a great choice for them, so pay attention to what they're naturally drawn to, ask their opinions on different options, and go from there. If they decide to commit to a sport, it will also teach discipline if you tell them they must not give up until the season or contract is over. If at that time they decide they are no longer interested, then let them choose another sport or activity so they can try new things until they find one they really enjoy. There are plenty and don't have to involve expensive sports leagues.
Lead by Example
Children are natural followers and they look up to those closest to them. If they see their parent or caretaker exercising, they'll most likely want to follow along. Ask them if they want to join you for a nature walk so it doesn't seem like exercise. Nature walks are a great way to get kids excited about working out without them knowing that's the plan. There are trees, rivers and streams, and birds and critters to keep their attention and get their mind off the walking. Many kids think it's a fun trip outdoors and not exercise. Nature walks are one of the simplest ways, but the options to get kids moving are almost limitless.
If working out becomes part of a child's routine it will likely become a healthy habit that could help them lead long, healthy lives.
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