Tips For Getting Your Kids To Exercise
After a few months of being indoors crafting and watching TV, we're all a little shy about exercising. But having a good exercise routine keeps our bones and muscles strong, prevents illnesses and makes us feel good. Though kids seem invincible now, they need exercise for a long and healthy life, too. However, when winter starts to give way to spring, it can be a little difficult to motivate them to leave the comfort of the couch. To give you a kickstart, here are 5 tips to get your kids moving this spring.
As soon as the snow melts, your instincts might tell you to have your kids get out of the house and run a mile, but you don't want them to do too much too soon. They need to ease into exercise to reduce the risk of injury. Do a little bit each day. Have them start by walking around the block and gradually extend each walk with trips to the park. Add a little more distance every time they go out so they can build up to more rigorous exercise.
Mix It Up
People need three types of exercise to get the most out of workouts: bone-strengthening exercise, muscle-strengthening exercise and aerobic exercise -- all of which can be fun, kid-friendly activities. Bone-strengthening exercises are weight-bearing activities, like yoga, hiking and tennis, that rely on the body's weight to create movement. Muscle-strengthening exercises help build muscle using external objects to create resistance. Kids can build muscles by lifting weights, climbing trees, playing tug-of-war or swinging on a jungle gym. Aerobic exercises get your blood pumping; think jumping rope, running and skipping. Your kids don't have to do all three types of exercises every day -- they can mix up the activities throughout the week to get a well-rounded workout.
Trade some of your kids' regular winter activities for activities that require a little more energy, even if you have to be sneaky about it. For instance, if you drive your kids to school every day, have them start walking (if it's not too far), or if they want to go to a friend's house, have them rollerblade rather than giving them a ride. You can even make playtime exercise time. Have them give up their kids games online for an hour to hula hoop outside or replace TV with a session of jumping rope, or trade computer time for a game of tag to get their heart rates up.
While we need to encourage our kids to exercise, we need to get exercise, too, and joining in on the fun gives you an opportunity to set an example. Exercising as a family is also a good way for the family to bond. Schedule time once or twice a week so your family can get together for disc golf and a picnic, take a bike ride to the botanical garden or go on a hike at the forest preserve. It's a fun way to get the family together and stay healthy.
You Know The Drill
Humans are creatures of habit and getting sufficient exercise requires a good routine to get kids motivated. Have them start the day with a little jog or bike ride. If they're not into mornings, have them exercise as soon as they get home from school and before they start their homework. It takes getting used to, but it's a habit they need to keep up to live happy, healthy lives.