How to Establish Healthy Exercise Routines in Children

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The American Heart Association recommends 60 minutes of daily physical activity for children. This does not have to be all at the same time — you can split it up into several sessions. Children aren’t likely to follow a typical adult’s exercise schedule. Instead, you should look for activities that are fun for your child. When you form fitness habits from a young age, your child is likely to continue them throughout his lifetime.

Figure Out What’s Right for Your Kid

Talk to your child about the activities she enjoys. Some children may not like team sports, but they are happy practicing skateboarding tricks or swimming laps in the pool. Others simply enjoy a game of tag with their friends. These are all great ways to stay active.

Encourage Group Activity

Encourage him to join a group activity program. If he wants to play soccer or take karate lessons, make the time to take him to practice and find the money in your budget to cover the costs.

Work Out Together

Stay active as a family. Take a walk or a bike ride after dinner, and go for hikes on the weekends. This reinforces the idea that exercise is for everyone.

Set Goals

Set goals as a family. Having something to work toward can encourage your child to become more active. Your goal might be a time — 60 minutes per day — or a specific physical fitness goal, like being able to run a mile or do 100 sit-ups.

Teach the Right Way of Exercising

Teach your child the proper form when exercising. Weightlifting isn’t appropriate for young children, but she can still build her muscles with bodyweight exercises, like squats or push-ups. Pay attention to her form and make corrections. For example, many children will have their butts too high in the air when doing a push-up.

Be a Good Fitness Role Model

Model good behavior. Children are more likely to do the things that they see their parents doing them. If you are active and having fun being active, your children will model that behavior.

Limit Time Sitting on the Couch

Limit the amount of sedentary activity your child participates in. This includes intellectual pursuits like reading books along with watching television. When your child can’t do these types of activities as much, he’ll have to do something a bit more active.

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