How to Motivate Kids to Exercise

Five Methods:TalkExemplifyStart slowBe CreativeUse Tricks

In this era of high-tech electronic devices that are available all hours of the day, including video games, Internet and TV shows, many children are becoming more sedentary and getting very little physical exercise. It can be a challenge for parents to pull their children away from it all. Finding ways to motivate your children to become more active may take a bit of effort , but it will prove to be an effort well worth your time. Exercise offers so many benefits to a child’s health and physical activity has even been linked to children performing better academically. With patience, perseverance and creativity, you can motivate your children to begin exercising.

Method 1

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    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.
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    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.

Method 2

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    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.

Method 3
Start slow

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.

Method 4
Be Creative

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    Develop a progress chart. Children love to be able to compare their progress over time and to try to surpass themselves. Make it a family chart and children will become competitive with the others on the chart. The end result is that they push themselves to do better.

Method 5
Use Tricks

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    Create your own mini-sports team. Have family or friends meet at a park for a day of picnicking and a sport event such as kick ball or relay races.
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    Turn routine chores around the house into physical activity. Walking the dog or carrying items up and down the stairs force children to get moving.
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    Begin a family game night of activity using the WII game system. Your children will love the unity it brings as you build good memories together.


  • If you have some health concerns about your child, check with your health care provider before beginning any form of exercise. It is always a good idea to get an okay from a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

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