(5 Min Read)
With the holiday season upon us, the family is top of mind. At PLN, we consider you all family, and because of that, we value the bond you have with your immediate family members.
Knowing that improved physical health leads to happiness, why wouldn’t you want that for your whole fam?
This is why fitness is an important life priority beginning in early childhood. Healthy habits not only increase physical and cardiovascular health, they can improve sleep, reduce stress, increase attention and learning, and minimize illness. Because the habits and preferences children develop early in life will shape their choices and behaviors for years to come, it is critical to establish good physical activity habits now.
Now you know, but as our favorite 1980s PSA’s would say “knowing is half the battle”.
10 tips to help turn a lazy kid into a fitness fanatic
Lead By Example- If you are having trouble getting your fellow family members to value fitness it may be because they don’t see you value it yourself. Children are impressionable, if they see their mother and/ or father valuing exercise, they are more likely to join in.
Make Walks or Runs a “Thing”- Depending on your fitness level, a weekly or daily jog/walk is a good group activity that gets the endorphins going. It’s a great time to get in some of those valuable “talks” as well. The exercise distracts the child and the camaraderie gained in sweating together is extremely valuable.
Use Their Heros to Your Advantage- Maybe your kid loves the Marvel action heroes or some popular athletes. Explain that if they want to grow up big and strong like them, they will need to start working out early.
Keep It Fun- Some kids just see working out as work. However, maybe they love video games, if this is the case there are several dancing titles that get them out of their seat (The “Just Dance” series is extremely popular)
Virtual Reality- It’s 2020, this is after all the year Marty McFly came to that was “the future”. Since the future is now, Virtual Reality is finally a real accessible thing! Using Virtual Reality to create a healthy ‘real’ reality could help your kids. The new Virtual Reality fitness-based games make fitness incredibly fun. Here’s a video highlighting the best VR games of 2020.
Minimize Sedentary Time- Sometimes getting a kid to be more active comes down to old fashioned chores. Fitness isn’t a choice as much as it is a habit, and like any other habit, they can start small. Think of chores as the “gateway drug” to activity. Getting them out of their seat is half the battle.
Get a Dog- Following the same logic, if your kid really wants a dog; make sure they understand they are also responsible for walking the dog on a daily basis. Going back to ‘leading by example’, join them on the walks, it’ll be fun.
Food as Fuel- If you fill your kid with unnecessary amounts of sodium and sugar, don’t be surprised when they want to lounge around. Sure their metabolism is higher than yours, but nobody wants to work out after a couple of Peanut Butter Cups. Make sure you are feeding them healthy meals and snacks so that they have clean energy to get them going.
Take Fitness based Vacations– Take trips that feature hikes, kayaking, and other fun fitness activities. Camping, or visiting a park are great options.
Be Creative- At the end of the day, you know your kid best. Just use your heart and think: “what would work for me?”, after all, they share your DNA.
Many of the above tips are short term tricks that aren’t sustainable on their own. They will create the spark, but you have to continue to fill the tank. If you want your kids to maintain a fit lifestyle you will need to follow through.
It Takes a Village
Once they have started to become more fit, find a fit community for them to join. There are obviously organized sports, but if you want to join in on the fun, there are Crossfit gyms that can be fun for the whole family.
2020 has shown that we can no longer rely on the school systems for all of our children’s education (not that we ever should have). Make sure that you are teaching your kid why fitness matters. For younger children The Busy Body Book: A Kid’s Guide to Fitness is a great start.
These are only a few tips, if you have tips that have worked for you, share them with our community!
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