There is a 50 percent chance that children of even just a single obese parent will also end up obese, studies have found. While substandard diet is usually the accused culprit, the lack of physical activity must also be taken into account. Simply telling kids about the numerous benefits of physical activity won’t get them moving. So how can you motivate your small couch potato to get moving and engage in adequate physical activity?
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Spice up otherwise plain things with appropriate physical activity that’s both creative and challenging or something incredibly fun your kids will interpret as “play”. Turn the usual walk from the car to the house into a walk at hon. Do planks during TV ads. Turn putting the groceries in the cupboard into a fun challenge rather than a boring chore.
Tailor Fit It
A recent research published by PLoS One revealed that girls were 19% less physically active than boys and the former’s physical activities were less favourably influenced by socio-ecological factors at the individual, family, school and environmental levels. So it is important to create individualized multi-component strategies in engaging your female kids. Be more intent and generous with time in helping your girls find physical activities they truly enjoy. Overall enjoyment is also a pillar within common youth training programs which incorporate dance moves and other fun movement patterns. Fitness doesn’t have to go the hard way.
Let them Choose
According to a study, in order to maximize kids’ motivation for starting and staying physically active, parents should encourage kids to take part in freely chosen activities they enjoy, feel competent in and with positive social support. Allow your kids to pick the exercise or activity that most appeals to them. Letting your kids decide which activity they want for the week makes them look forward to doing it than activities you decided for them. You’ll be pleasantly shocked at the creative and fun ideas they come up with.
Frame It As a Reward
If your kid wants to take a break from homework, he/she will be happy to play catch or kickball for a few minutes. Once physical activity is associated with the reward system, not only will your kid be keen to finish homework to be able to play, he/she will also exercise more.
Trade in indoor activities with outdoor ones. Fresh air and sunshine are excellent mood enhancers. With the breathtaking views of nature, they won’t even notice you’ve cycled, ran, walked, jogged, hiked or hopped away too far because they’re too busy appreciating the beautiful sight of nature. Zoos and national parks are great places to begin your physically active nature trip.
Be a Team
Kids love it when the parents they look up to are part of the game. Go for a stroll with the bike, trek or hike. Play basketball, catch or go swim. You, as parents, influence your children’s physical activity. According to research by the international journal of Pediatrics, your stand on being physically active, your enjoyment of your activities, and your personal level of physical activity are predictors of how engaged your kid will be in physical activities of sufficient duration and intensity. Parents are role models and if they see you maintaining an active lifestyle, they’ll likely follow you.
Kids enjoy games where there is a sense of accomplishment. If this along with healthy competition motivate your kids, keep a record tracking your kids’ and everyone else’s progress –best times ran, longest distance cycled, highest mountain hiked, number of trails walked, perfect attendance to workout classes, etc.
The main foundations of a healthy and active life are exercise and fitness which are achieved with starting physical activities while still young. Encouraging healthy habits and motivating your kids into adapting healthy lifestyles early on is the greatest thing you can do for your kids’ health and well-being. Remember, the hardest step is the first one but it is never too late to start.