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Sign up to the get fit newsletter
Sign up for the ''Get Fit'' Newsletter
  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
  • Learn why "conventional" diets fail
  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
  • How to choose the right health club
  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
  • How to conquer procrastination
Email:
Name:
This Month In Life
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    You may not have been taught healthy lifestyle habits when you were young, but you now have the chance to teach your own kids the benefits of healthy eating and regular exercise. A big part of making healthy habits stick is enjoying what you do. As you raise your kids, here are a few ways to instill a love for exercise and physical fitness. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Building Fit Kids

Teach your kids to love exercise and they’ll be fit for life

Don’t you wish you knew what you know now when you were young? Perhaps you would have done things a lot differently if you could go back and change history. Many people feel this way about health and fitness.

At an early age, they set unhealthy diet and exercise patterns that stuck around for years. Now they’re reaping the consequences as they step on the scale or visit the doctor.

You may not have been taught healthy lifestyle habits when you were young, but you now have the chance to teach your own kids the benefits of healthy eating and regular exercise. A big part of making healthy habits stick is enjoying what you do. As you raise your kids, here are a few ways to instill a love for exercise and physical fitness.

A Family Affair

Want to spend more quality time with your kids? Instead of taking them to the movies or out for ice cream, why not do something active? When the weather is nice, go for a bike ride or a hike. Shoot some hoops or toss the ball. Throw the Frisbee or play a game of tennis. When the weather’s cold or rainy, head to the gym together or do bodyweight exercises in the house. The options are endless. Kids love fun and lighthearted one-on-one time spent with their parents. What better way to spend time together than exercise?

Set an Example

Kids won’t learn to like exercise if they see you dreading it or complaining about it. But if you’re pumped about a good workout, look forward to your daily jogs, and practice what you preach about exercise, kids will see that it’s a good thing and hopefully follow your example.

Encourage Sports

Organized sports are a great way for kids of all ages to learn to enjoy exercise. From tee ball to soccer to volleyball, sometimes it takes a few tries at different activities for kids to find what they enjoy most. Schools, fitness clubs, and community recreation centers all offer kids’ sports programs. Too many sports, pressure to excel, or a lack of skill may all lead a child to quit playing sports. And don’t force your kids to play sports. Some just aren’t skilled to compete and that’s okay.

Find Their Niche

Just because a child isn’t the athletic type doesn’t mean he or she can’t be active and enjoy fitness. It may take some creativity, but there are plenty of other age-appropriate activities to participate in for fun. Examples include playing outside, riding bikes, hiking, jogging, dancing, horseback riding, or exercising along with workout videos.

Health Is the Goal

A child’s view of exercise can sour when parents associate exercise with body image, weight, or perfection. While exercise does help you lose weight and improve self-esteem, those shouldn’t be the goals for kids. Telling kids to exercise for weight loss places a lot of pressure and expectations that kids tend to rebel against.

Make It a Competition

A great way to motivate older kids to enjoy exercise is to foster a little friendly competition. This can be done in various ways. Try tracking the number of steps you take each day by wearing a pedometer. Other activity trackers provide ways to compare distance traveled, calories burned, or length of workouts. Set challenges to work towards together, keep score, and reward the winner with prizes.