Sunday Savers – Getting Your Kids Involved in Fitness

July 18th, 2010

There’s no shortage of things to do in the summer. In fact, we’re going on our first camping adventure today. That’s right. EasyPeasy is hanging up her heels and roughing it for a bit.

But it can also be tempting to just lay around and do nothing. Especially when the sun is strong, the A/C is cool, and the TV has the latest reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. You lay around. Your kids lay around. Good sometimes. Not good all the time.

Here are some great tips from Robert Shapiro, Founder of One2One BodyScapes in Wellesley, Mass., on quick and easy ways to get your kids involved in fitness no matter the season.

  • Set a good example. I always try to involve my own kids into physical activities that I enjoy. Whether it’s a nightly walk after dinner or a weekend day hiking or running, get your kids to follow in your active footsteps.
  • Praise physical activity. Keep a goal chart on your refrigerator and create a friendly competition between family members. Have everyone track the amount of activity they do and their progress over time (how many sit-ups in a minute, how many pull-ups in a minute, how fast they complete a mile run, etc.). Their improvements over time will keep them interested and encourage them to achieve even better accomplishments.
  • Incorporate activity into their your kids’ love of video games and TV. One technique I use is to utilize commercial breaks. If you have nightly shows that you watch as a family, make it point to stretch or exercise during commercial breaks. Try squats, push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks in the living room. You can create a contest between the kids and parents to see who can do the most of each exercise before the show returns from commercial break.
  • Schedule an activity birthday party. For your child’s next birthday party, schedule something that keeps them active–Bowling, ice skating, swimming, batting cage or rock climbing. If they really enjoy the activity, explore the option of signing them up for classes.
  • Establish a routine. Whether it’s a nightly walk or weekly gymnastics class, keep your kids in a routine of staying active. At first, start slowly and add one activity per week; as time goes by, add a second and a third. Before you know it, you’ll have the kids on a great routine and they’ll think of exercise as a normal part of their schedule. In fact, they may not even realize they’re exercising.
  • Get a dog! After getting our black lab, we noticed our kids become even more active than they were before. Dogs need a lot of exercise and our kids are more than willing to lend a helping hand. Whether it’s playing Frisbee, racing with the dog around the yard or walking her, the kids always get a burst of energy from the dog. They tire each other out. While dogs involve a significant investment of time and money, see if your kids can help walk a neighbor’s dog. It saves you work, but allows them the fun and exercise!
  • Clean up! Families can get together to do yard work, wash cars, clean the windows of the house, garden, rack and shovel. There’s nothing like putting on some upbeat music while you do indoor and outdoor household chores. This is a great way to get your heart rate up and strengthen your upper body, lower body and back. An activity like washing the car can utilize the muscles in both your upper and lower body, while lifting a rack or cleaning the windows on a house would utilize your arms, back and abs.

How do you get your kids involved in exercise and healthy living? I would love to hear your tips!

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2 Responses to “Sunday Savers – Getting Your Kids Involved in Fitness”

  1. Kaci says:

    We live about half a mile from our gym, so we try to make a habit of walking there with our 3-year old. We tend to go about four or five times a week, so in addition to seeing us exercise, she also notices the other people at the gym doing the same.

  2. Lisa says:

    We make it a point in our house to shut off the t.v., and shut down all the electronics…the IPOD’s, Nintendo DS’s, video games, computer…go out in the yard and PLAY. Kids don’t do enough outside playing anymore. Throw a baseball around, play basketball in the driveway, ride your bike with your kids, go for a walk and explore the neighborhood, swing on the swings…PLAY!!! Nothing better that a tired kid after a long fun filled day playing outside. Makes a world of difference.

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