This blog is part of a series of posts to help you cultivate healthy living for your family, and most importantly, for your child.
Encourage Exercise for Kids
Children love to exercise, and they need to exercise. Let’s face it, kids need daily physical activity to enhance their fitness, maintain good health, and live in a body weight that is right for them.
Lack of daily exercise for kids negatively impacts a child’s fitness level and may be a strong contributor to an unhealthy lifestyle, impacting overall health and wellness.
Guidelines for Encouraging Exercise for Kids
The Physical Prescription for Fitness
Duration, intensity, and type of physical activity does matter. While any movement is better than none, experts recommend at least 1 hour of physical activity per day, both from planned activity and free play.
No longer is walking the dog adequate, experts want to see children sweaty, red-faced, and breathless for a period of time every day. If you are relying on school, be aware that daily recess and physical education varies from school to school and may not be a significant contributor to your child’s daily activity level.
Nurture Fitness with Nature
The number one predictor of physical activity in children is time spent outdoors. Get outside as a family and encourage your child to play outside as often as possible.
Get Gear for Fitness
Let your child pick out their own active wear, shoes and sports aids. Whether an independent exerciser or part of an athletic team, children enjoy having gear that supports their activities. Who doesn’t love running to music? Or shooting baskets in the driveway?
Having the right gear can rally excitement around being active and can promote movement. For the teen, gym memberships, pedometers, and exercise groups/classes can be a positive motivator, as well. I’ve got some good fitness gear in my nutrition store–check it out!
Walk the Talk
More than 40% of a child’s health is determined by his or her behavior. That’s more than genetics, healthcare, or social influences. You are your child’s behavior barometer—your child will do what you do. So, go on, get moving!
Breaking down barriers
Identify any road blocks that may get in the way of your family’s activity level, such as busy work schedules. Find solutions, not excuses, for how to deal with these road blocks that will fit your unique family circumstances.
Be Tech Savvy
If your child is having a difficult time giving up video games, try compromising with ones that allow more activity and interaction. Hands-on video games, TV exercise programs, and interactive websites can be the beginning of increased activity for your child.
Physical activity and fitness are necessary parts of healthy living and having a healthy future. Often, one avenue of activity is not the magic pill—it is a conglomeration of several efforts, each and every day.
How are you helping your child be active every day?
Need to make sure you’re on the right track? Check out my checklist!
It takes more than healthy food and exercise to raise a healthy child. Check out my special course for parents, called The Nourished Child Project for the “ingredients” to raising a healthy child!
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: November 15, 2017
Updated on: June 6, 2018