How To Encourage More Exercise for Your Family
Good fitness is essential for anyone, but especially so for growing children. Getting your children into good exercise habits at a younger age will bode well for them as they develop and get older. It’s also a great excuse to allow yourself to get out more and stay in shape, too, as well as encouraging more family time spent together for a great health reason.
If you’re struggling for ideas or motivation for your family fitness, let the following guide help you get on the right track.
Speak to your children about the importance of exercising to improve their health
Discuss with them the basic benefits of exercise. The obvious benefits are weight control and a better physical appearance but also inform them that it can lead to increased energy which can lead to better athletic abilities and improved concentration that can make school easier. Make the conversation interesting and relatable. Try to get them excited about exercising before they start moving!
Discuss with them the health benefits that exercise can provide to their body
Talk to them about the way the body works and the way exercise works with the body. Explain how it helps to keep the heart strong , the lungs healthy and how it helps to build strong muscles and bones. In addition, talk about some of the diseases that exercise can help prevent, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Make it Fun
Even adults hate boring exercise. So imagine how difficult it is to motivate a child to get on board with exercise which they simply have no interest in. In order to make a good fitness routine more likely, make it fun – and implement it wherever and whenever you can (because any extra movement and exercise in children is better than nothing!).
Making it fun can start easily at home think about the space you have, including garden space, and what you can do with it to encourage more play and movement. Trampolines in the garden, for example, are very popular features to combine exercise and play. You can shop around for the right shape trampoline for the space you have, such as a square trampoline, and enjoy it with your child at home.
Also, pay attention to the types of exercise your child clearly enjoys, and those they do not. If your child isn’t fond of big hikes or jogging, try something different like cycling or ask them what they would like to do, and what they feel most motivated about.
Resolve to begin setting an example for your children
Let your children see how important exercise is to you by exercising yourself. Children naturally mimic their parents if they take the time to notice. Get their attention and make them notice your effort by making it a bigger affair than it actually is.
Lead by Example
Your child looks up to you as an example in most things. This means if you aren’t doing your part to stay active and encourage better fitness, your child isn’t going to feel very interested, either. Be sure to never speak of exercise in a negative light, even if you feel that way, such as having a lazy day or not being too motivated about your fitness at the moment. Don’t let your child sense or see that you’re begrudging exercise, or canceling any fitness, because they will follow suit or view it as a negative aspect.
Encourage positivity when it comes to exercise and try to make sure that fitness always sounds like a fun, cool thing for the whole family to do together.
Introduce exercise in small bursts if your child is very resistant to your attempts
It is better to allow your child a little time to adjust to the idea than to turn your child off completely. Start with 5 minutes a day of a light physical activity. Continue this routine for a week before increasing the time by a minute or 2 and continue to gradually increase the time until your child is exercising for at least 15 minutes a day.
Being outdoors in the fresh air as a family is the simplest way to find your exercise. Family walks, hikes, jogs or even just a jaunt around the park combine movement and exercise with great family days out which everybody can get on board with. Use this as an opportunity to travel around with your family and visit some great, new locations, whether it’s a park you’ve never been to, a stroll along a nearby beach or a hiking trail in a new part of the country for a weekend trip away.
Keep your child’s interest at its peak by offering new and exciting places to explore, so that your exercise routine isn’t always in the same, local place which can easily become boring for everyone involved.
Mix up the routine once your child has become accustomed to activity
Rather than 15 minutes of one light exercise, do 5 minutes each of 3 different exercises. Start with the usual light activity for 5 minutes, then switch over to a more vigorous activity for 5 minutes and conclude the final 5 minutes with a lighter activity again.
Use a Reward or Treat System for the Family
Incentives are great, especially for younger children. However, when it comes to exercise and being healthy, having a treat system no matter your age is key to staying motivated. You don’t want to risk burning out due to over-exercising or becoming miserable because you never allow your family the occasional treat.
Think of ways to motivate the family together in regards to fitness; agree to a certain amount of days of exercise and healthy eating, and then treat yourself to a day off where everybody is allowed to choose a treat item to eat or drink as a reward. Or, agree to a family meal out as a reward for exercising throughout the week.
Having treat days to look forward to as a family gives you something to focus on and something to aim for, which you know you will get if you manage to stick to your diet and fitness routine.
Pump up the routines and the length of activities as your child grows accustomed to the work outs
Using this gradual approach allows your child to slowly adjust to an exercise program with much less resistance.
Sign Up to Classes
Encouraging better fitness in your children doesn’t mean that you always have to exercise with them. Take the time to find out your child’s interests and research new classes or hobbies they may want to try. This could be swimming classes or dance classes, anything which gets them on their feet and moving, but which gives them a new, sociable interest at the same time.
Try to designate a set time for exercise
We all work better when a schedule is in place because we adjust all we do in a day to fit into that schedule. By anticipating that moment in time, we mentally prepare ourselves for when it arrives. This can work in your favor when it comes to getting your child motivated for the activity. It may be met with resistance at first, but over time it simply becomes the standard routine.
Make it a family ritual
By incorporating the entire family into the activity it becomes easier for the children to adapt to being forced to exercise. This eliminates any chances of the children feeling singled out and being forced to endure an activity that no one else has to participate in. It is easier for children to accept doing something they prefer not to do if they feel that everyone else has to do it too.
Allow exercise to become a group affair by including a friend of the child
Your child will be less resistant to the idea of physical activity if it appears to be more of a special event. Incorporating a friend into the routine will turn it into an event the child actually looks forward to. An added bonus can be that when the routine is over the children get to play.
Turn exercise into a challenge for your children
Children naturally like to prove to others their competency. By betting them that they can’t do something, they will be more motivated to try to prove to you that they can. Be sure to approach this in a fun, joking manner so as not to discourage them from exercise.
Understand that exercise can be obtained in many different manners
Do not limit attempts at exercising to routine programs. Any form of physical activity counts as exercise. Be creative in ways to get your children moving.
Make exercise fun
Bike riding, swimming, hiking and boat-rowing are all activities that will strengthen muscles and burn calories. Your children will consider this a day of fun rather than looking at it as a form of exercise.
Sign your children up for classes that are physically active
Karate, dance and gymnastics are examples of activity lessons that your child will get exercise from.
Enroll your children in a sports program
Basketball, soccer and baseball are effective ways to get kids moving. Keep in mind that in today’s society, girls are just as able as boys to join a sports team. If you are not a fan of co-ed teams there are some all-girl teams available in the sports area as well.
Plan an outing that will incorporate physical activity into the day
A trip to the zoo will result in a day of walking. A water park will result in a day of walking and swimming.