How to encourage your children the importance of exercise from an early age

Kids can be hard to motivate; especially when you’re trying to motivate them to get off the couch and doing something active and healthy! While most kids today are involved in some sort of physical activity like baseball, taekwondo, or swim team, they’re probably don’t have a well rounded, holistic fitness routine. If you are wondering, “Why should kids exercise?”, the answer really is about, “why kids should exercise more”! We’ll cover all of that and how to get kids to exercise with fun kids fitness activities and kids fitness games. The idea is to provide fun exercise ideas for kids so they want to be active themselves.

Should Kids Exercise?

The fact is many young people just don’t get as much exercise as they used to. Exercise for kids? Yes, it is important to  help your kids get as much as exercise as kids need to be healthy. Weight-bearing physical activity causes kids to develop stronger bones and muscles. This is not only important while they are growing but also good measure to take to avoid problems later in life.  Lower-body strength-training exercises help improve balance.  Aerobic exercise helps increase your breathing and heart rate to strengthen your heart to help decrease the odds of developing heart disease. According to Harvard Health, regular exercise even changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills!

As you can see there really are countless way that exercise can improve your life. Wellness is a balance between emotional, physical and spiritual health. That’s where you come in. If getting your kids excited about vegetables and cardio seems slightly outside your purview, don’t beat yourself up. I’ve met plenty of parents who, in spite of their own personal success in staying fit, can’t get their kids on board.  No worries!  These tips for how to get kids to exercise will help you with fun kids fitness activities and kids fitness games to make it so much easier.

Young children should experience the health benefits of physical activities too. Starting an active lifestyle at a young age will help form healthy habits, strong muscles, strong bones, and proper motor skills. Active kids tend to be healthy kids.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children, adolescents, and young adults should engage in ≥60 minutes of physical
activity each day. Most of the ≥60 minutes of physical activity each day should be either moderate or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity. As part of their daily activity, children and adolescents should engage in vigorous activity on at least 3 days per week. They also should engage in muscle-strengthening
and bone-strengthening activity on at least 3 days per week.”

Fun Exercise Ideas For Kids

There are so many fun exercise ideas for kids but to make it super easy, I have created a free printable, below. Just drag the image to your screen, then click on it and select “file” and then “print” from your top menu bars. Use this free kids fitness printable with exercises for kids to get them started. It is fun to play in groups or even by their self. This list will give both parents and children 26 fun kid friendly exercises to try! School-aged children will enjoy the variety of activities. They are great ways for young kids to become familiar with regular physical activity.

Start A Fitness Activities For Kids Club

Talk to your kids’ friends’ parents about creating an exercise club. Most parents are thrilled at the offer to have their kids included in a play date (what parent can’t use a kid-free afternoon now and then?), and if you’re offering up free kids fitness activities? Well, let’s just say you should probably prepare to accept the “Parent of the Year” award this December.

How you execute on this is completely up to you, but a few fun exercise ideas and kids fitness games to get you started include:

  • Turning your swimming pool into a aqua aerobics for kids class a couple times a week during the summer. Serve smoothies and make sure there’s plenty of time for free swim and pool games at the end.
  • Organize a weekly neighborhood game of capture the flag or ultimate Frisbee.
  • Talk to your child’s school about using the school’s field for a free, all-inclusive soccer, football or baseball league.
  • Try Flip2BFit or other kids fitness games that make it fun to be active.
  • Have playground playtime whether it is in the backyard, a local park, or even indoors.
  • Break out the rollerskates!
  • Provide sports equipment for pick up games at the park.
  • Children may even want to add their own ideas to your list of exercise activities for kids. You’d be surprised how creative they can be!

How To Encourage Kids To Exercise

Lead By Example

Maybe it sounds like a no-brainer, but the biggest oversight I’ve noticed when speaking to parents fighting this battle is the fact that you, the parent, need to be your child’s health and wellness role model. Your little monkeys need to see before they’ll start doing. To get them excited about exercising, you have to be excited about it first.

Kids learn by mimicking their parents, so when you work out, make it part of your family time. Do stretches in the living room while the kids are getting ready for school, run on the treadmill while they’re doing homework, and talk about how great you feel when you get home from yoga.  You might also try doing some fun physical fitness activities for the whole family.  Monkey see, monkey do, monkey want to work out with you!

Turn the TV… on?!

Getting the kids away from the TV can be a harrowing task for some parents. So, don’t bother! Every children’s entertainment franchise, from Sesame Street to Dora the Explorer, has an exercise DVD geared toward little ones. There are so many good kids fitness videos.

Do a Google search for “kid’s fitness DVDs” and take your pick. If your kids are older, there are plenty for teenagers, too. Flip on a disc or push play on YouTube and let the Cookie Monster or Miley Cyrus lead you and your kids through a fun workout.

Make Exercise About Fun, Not Figure

When getting your child into a healthy life habits, it’s never too early to start!  A word of caution though- make sure you stress that exercise is all about fun and fitness and a healthy lifestyle.  It is important that kids don’t  start getting the wrong idea about their bodies.  Body image issues aren’t just a concern for teenagers. As soon as kids become aware of themselves—often as young as preschool or kindergarten—they become aware of the nasty, unfair standards society pushes on them.  So no body shaming!

It’s important to create a fun, judgment free and supportive environment in your home where the amount of veggies on your plate is more important than the inches around your waist. Whether you’re starting your kids off at a very early age, or working on getting older ones involved in their own health and wellness routines, you need to start, end and motivate with positivity.

Make ground rules, like no competing, no comparing and no complaining. And reward milestones, like your son’s first 5k or your daughter finally making it 50 laps in the pool, with hugs.

Conclusion on Kids Exercise

I hope I have answered all your questions about, “Why should kids work out?”  There are just so many benefits of physical activity. I also hope you find these tips for how to get kids to exercise really useful.  These fun kids fitness activities and kids fitness games should get kids more interested in being active and learning that activity can be fun.  What are your favorite new, fun exercise ideas and do you have any you want to share?

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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