Five Ways to Get Your Kids Exercising

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Welcome to Mom-Monday! I’m glad you’re here.

As moms, we want to do whatever we can to give our kids an opportunity to have a healthy, productive life. We save for their college educations. We take them for regular doctor appointments. We try to make sure they eat the right foods.

But what about exercise? Is it part of our kids’ daily lives?
Not only are kids who exercise regularly less likely to become overweight, they also have less of a risk of developing type 2 diabetes and have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than kids who are inactive. In addition, studies show that they sleep better and handle physical and emotional stress more easily.

And here’s a key thing for us moms to consider: the exercise habits our kids form when they are young will likely be the ones they’ll carry with them into adulthood.

So how can we help our kids to get moving?

1. Limit TV. Any mom knows that TV can make kids sluggish and cranky. So turn the screen off. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids under the age of 6 watch an average of 2 hours of TV a day, while kids and teens from 8 – 18 years spend almost 4 hours a day watching TV and almost 2 additional hours playing video games or spending time on the computer. Set limits on the amount of TV time allowed in your house. Find what works for your family and create a schedule for no TV on weekdays or weekends. The time freed up will open doors for other activities and a change of scenery can go a long way in turning that sluggishness around.

2. Get up and out. If your kids are young, be intentional about taking them outside regularly. Take advantage of local parks and nature trails. Climbing on a play set and swinging from the monkey bars can be great exercise for young kids. If yours are older, plan a hike and have them invite a friend. Or get them a new football or Frisbee and toss the first throw. Find out what sports or activities your kids enjoy and sign them up. Look into your city’s Parks and Recreation department and see what classes or teams are offered. Have your kids try a variety of activities until they find one or two that they love.


3. Drive less. Is your kids’ school within walking distance? What about their friend’s houses? If you have young children, walk with them instead of driving. Leave the stroller at home, and leave the house early so you have time to stop and let them look at bugs or smell the flowers without being late. If your kids are older, add something they might consider fun. Walk to the movie rental store and let them pick out the movie or video game. Ride bikes to soccer practice and have them lead the way. They may not be enthused about the idea at first, but your example can be contagious. And it’s good for the environment too.

4. Make it fun. Create opportunities for exercise to be fun. Come up with a contest and join in. Who can do the most pushups in a minute? Who can swim the fastest lap in the pool? Race your kids to the mailbox. Or have them race each other. My kids love it when I judge their cannon balls, rating them from 1 to 10. They’ll keep jumping in and out of the pool until I tell them to stop. When kids are focused on a goal or trying to win, especially if they’re trying to beat their parents, exercise can be twice as fun.


5. Set an example. Maybe the most important thing we moms can do to encourage our kids to be active is to be active in our own lives. Make exercise a priority, even if you can only fit a ten minute walk or a thirty minute exercise video into your day. It will go a long way in reducing the stress that often comes with parenting. And don’t go overboard or burn yourself out. Our kids pick up on our attitudes, so simply make exercise a positive part of your routine. Invite your kids to go bike riding or play tennis. Bring them to the gym with you. Go for an evening walk. Kids learn more from what we do than what we say, and a child who grows up seeing his or her mom or dad living actively will most likely follow in those footsteps.

Or should I say running shoes?

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**I recently wrote the article above for a magazine and soon after, saw a post over at my friend Kellie’s called, “Why Do You Want to be Healthy?” In it, she shared some of her personal reasons and I wanted to share a couple of them with you. I think they are a powerful reminder of the opportunity we as parents have to give our kids a positive example of health.

“Health is responsibility. My mother died at age 59 – far too early for my taste. She lived a life of ill-health, most of which was by her choice. I choose life. I choose responsibility. I choose my golden days to be spent with my children, grandchildren, and even my great grandchildren.

Health is legacy. The example you by live has an impact on every one around you. Your actions speak to your world, and your DNA is passed along to your offspring. The health footprint you leave is your legacy that will live longer than you will.”

So what about you? How do you fit exercise into your busy day, or what are the challenges you’ve faced in trying to do this? What are some of your kids’ favorite activities? Do you have best practices you can share with other moms? I look forward to hearing your tips and thoughts. :)

If you haven’t already, leave your URL in the link list below, so other moms can stop by your site and say hi on Mom-Mondays. It’s a simple way for moms to come alongside other moms!

8 Comments on Five Ways to Get Your Kids Exercising

  1. Amanda
    September 28, 2009 at 2:26 pm (8 years ago)

    Great job Genny… you are an EXCELLENT writer! And these tips are right on!!Blessings-Amand

    Reply
  2. megs @ whadusay
    September 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm (8 years ago)

    Great tips Genny! I am not the best at creating activities for my kids to do, but we do limit the TV and they seem to be pretty creative on their own!It is great to have a reminder to be more intentional in this area – great post!

    Reply
  3. Emily
    September 29, 2009 at 5:46 am (8 years ago)

    My kids are young, so getting outside everyday is critically important here. They need fresh air and time to run around, and I need a break from being on-call all day. Luckily, for the under-five set, exercise is really just another way to play!Glad you're back to blogging!

    Reply
  4. Sue
    September 29, 2009 at 2:31 pm (8 years ago)

    So true about how parents exercise habits set the example for the kids. I am terrible at exercise and often I see my Mom in me. In fact, the other day I told hubby he's going to have to nag me to exercise with him like my Dad did to my Mom. I often wish I had kids in the hopes that they would motivate me to get out & do more knowing how much they need it too. Great post Genny!

    Reply
  5. Jessica
    September 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm (8 years ago)

    Excellent post Genny! I completely agree. Esp. now that my son is in kindergarten and all he does is sit at school and learn. When he gets home it's outside time. Almost everyday. I don't really give them activities to do outside, I just sit and read and they run and scream and spray eachother with the water hose. LOL

    Reply
  6. KellieS
    September 29, 2009 at 8:45 pm (8 years ago)

    Hey, Genny, thanks for the reprint of my words about health. It's good timing for your article on fitness for kids. Too many of them are getting obese at young ages. My son is trying to get more exercise. We actually just took a nice walk to the park today. It was so beautiful out and the fall air devine. Check out my post on men and health today. It's one for the ladies and the men in their lives. https://www.womenslifelink.com/do-women-care-more-about-health-than-men/

    Reply
  7. Melissa B.
    September 30, 2009 at 1:23 am (8 years ago)

    My kids are competitive swimmers, so we've got the exercise base covered. Now if the parentals could just get off their butts…

    Reply
  8. Warren Baldwin
    October 2, 2009 at 3:50 am (8 years ago)

    Ah, these were actually good suggestions for us older kids, too.

    Reply

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