How to Get Kids to Exercise

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Prying your child away from his favorite video game isn’t always easy, but physical activity is key to raising a healthy family. You don’t need to line up the family for hours of jumping jacks and push-ups. Physical activity comes in many forms, including games and activities your kids will find entertaining. The exercise that works best for your family depends on several factors, including available resources, the ages of your kids and the interests of the family.

Step 1

Make an activity tracking chart to encourage your kids to start exercising. Include columns and rows for each family member for every day of the week. Either stickers or writing in the amount of time exercised works to track activity.

Step 2

Write a list of entertaining ways to get exercise, such as a pickup basketball game in the driveway, tag, ice skating, paddle boats, obstacle courses or time at the park. Get the kids involved in brainstorming activities to add to the list. Post the list in a place that is highly visible to encourage the entire family to get active.

Step 3

Head out as a family for a little exercise. Consult your list of activity ideas if you’re not sure what to do. Often simply heading outdoors as a family will result in some physical activity.

Step 4

Exercise on your own if your kids aren’t up to a little physical activity. Modeling a physically active lifestyle might encourage your kids to join in.

Step 5

Seek out community activities that focus on physical activity, such as a group nature hike or a race. Participate in the activity as a family.

Step 6

Walk or ride bikes to get to school each morning. If your kids are too young to go by themselves, head out with them to get in your own exercise for the day. Run errands this way if possible as a family.

Step 7

Organize a friendly competition between family members to see who can exercise the most. Track the amount of time each person exercises over a set period of time.

Step 8

Sign your child up for an organized sports team. An alternative is to learn a new sport as a family. This exposes your child to other types of exercise and activity.

Step 9

Give your child gifts that encourage exercise, such as bikes, roller skates, jump ropes and balls.

Step 10

Encourage kids to get active every day, but don’t punish them if they’re not in the mood. This might make your child associate exercise with punishment, making them more likely to resist exercise further.

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