Are you looking for creative ways to motivate your kids to exercise? I know I am! With so many sedentary activities competing for the attention of our young ones, it’s a battle to keep them moving. But, we’ve heard from our pediatricians that our kids need exercise. How much exercise do they need? For children and adolescents ages 6 to 17, the current guidelines are:
- at least an hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily
- most of the hour should be either moderate or vigorous aerobic activity
- vigorous-intensity physical activity should be at least three days a week.
- part of the hour of physical activity should include muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities at least three days a week.
These guidelines are from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. As parents, we would LOVE to meet these guidelines but sometimes it’s easier said than done, right? So how do you even start trying to motivate your kids to exercise? Here are my favorite 3 ways:
Give Your Kids Exposure Then Let Them Choose
I have a lot of great memories from my childhood and many relate to my extracurricular activities. My working mom shuttled me from class to class like a pro. She was amazing! Those activities gave me exposure to exercise from a very early age and I quickly established physical fitness as a daily habit.
While I loved every single activity, all of them became time-consuming and expensive. Something had to give! Inevitably, I had to whittle down all of my extracurricular activities to just one. I chose my absolute favorite activity, which was ballet, and practiced it for many years. When the time came to stop ballet, I found something else to take its place (which was track), then drill team became my focus, which then led to running and weight training. You see, exposure to exercise at an early age created a necessity in my life for physical fitness. Even when I had to give up some activities, I chose to continue doing my favorite one because I’d developed an exercise habit by that point.
Let Your Kids See You Exercise
One of my biggest blessings as a fitness instructor is the opportunity to bring my daughter to my job. She can see me teach, and see me interact with my clients. When I’m going through training to teach a new fitness format, she’s in the studio practicing with me. My studio is such a supportive community that feels like a second home to her and she loves to go whenever she can.
But the other surprising fact is that she’s motivated to try to do the exercises by herself. I’ve caught her imitating me and trying to do the moves. It’s really cute! Seeing me in action has motivated her to do the same. The exercises are safe and she can start building strength, length, an awareness of her body, and good form/posture at a very early age. It’s amazing! This concept can work even if you’re not a fitness instructor. You can be a role model for your kids. When you make physical fitness a priority, they will be encouraged to do the same!
Let Your Kids Exercise With You
During our annual trip to Florida, one of our trip highlights is bike riding as a family. We explore the area together and the kids get to see Mom and Dad doing physical activity. The kids are in a trailer, so Mom and Dad are working hard! But it goes further than that. When we get home, they are motivated to improve their bike riding skills so one day they can ride their own bikes. Also, we swim together, take walks together, and have dance parties together. It’s all fun and it becomes contagious! The more we do it as a family, the more they love it and want it to continue. And, we’ve created precious memories that will last a lifetime.
Encourage Your Kids to Exercise
Motivating your kids to exercise does not have to be overwhelming. In fact, you may be doing some things now and it’s a matter of getting them exposed to what you’re already doing. Focus on activities that spark an interest within your kids, let them see you prioritize exercise, and incorporate exercise into your family activities. Those are three easy ways that you can motivate them.
By the way, are you looking for ways to jump-start your own fitness routine? Check out my post here for 5 Great Ways to Start and Keep a New Fitness Routine, then download this free guide to keep you motivated!
Now go and get started!
Mrs. Traylor is a Fitness Instructor, NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach, AFPA Certified Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, wife, and momma who provides actionable advice for positive lifestyle changes with fitness, nutrition, and wellness. Read about Wendy’s inspiring entrepreneurial journey, and subscribe to Wendy’s newsletter here!