This article is for general education purposes only. Please consult your doctor and your child’s doctor for specific questions and to formulate a specific plan.
Getting Your Kids Pumped About Exercise
Everyday, I counsel lots of families on how to increase their physical activity. Here’s to the secret to how the kids and parents get so pumped up about exercise during our visits:
I set the standard SUPER DUPER LOW.
We talk about how much and what type of exercise seems like a good start. It’s attainable. It feels very tangible, a goal they can reach. And then, before the visit is over, I quiz them on the plan that they decided. on. More examples to come, but first, let’s discuss why it’s so important to talk about exercise.
How Exercise Benefits Your Child’s Body
Physical activity is important to staying healthy pretty much every part of the body – the brain (aka mental health), all heart, the immune system, the kidneys, and the fertility organs. Kids have more energy and focus, have healthier hearts, develop stronger muscles and joints, and have happier moods. These benefits affects so many other areas in their life and future, such as having healthier social relationships, doing better in school, and getting a higher paying job.
Exercise also boosts other healthy habits, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and getting more sleep. Want to spend less time arguing with your moody, picky eater kid? Get them moving! The recommended amount of physical exercise for most kids adults are 60 minutes most days of the week. If you think 60 minutes is a lot, then don’t sweat (right now anyway, but we’ll figure out a plan to get you and your family sweating soon)! Healthy activity is easier than you think. It first starts with thinking, which you can do sitting on the couch, lying in bed, or driving in the car. Easy right? Told you. I set the standard LOW.
What You Should Think About Exercise
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families think about exercise as lifelong pursuit. A recent publication highlighted three key attitudes for parents to reflect on when it comes to their children’s physical activity.
True or false:
- My children and I are physically active enough to break a sweat every day.
- My children probably will be physically active as adults.
- I will be physically active when I am a grandparent.
The more statements that are true, the more likely kids will grow up to become adults who lead an active lifestyle. How true are these statements for you? If all three are true, the great! Keep up the awesome work! If not, then pick one and think about it during down time. Write down the statement and recite it in your head for a minute a few times a day. Reflect on it for a week. Are you ready for the next step, thinking superhero? Next are some strategies to shift this from mindset to movement.
How You and Your Kids Can Stay Active
Remember how the secret is keeping the standard low? Well, here’s how you can make a plan you and your kids can stick with every day.
- Ridiculously tiny number of minutes to move enough to get heart rate up: _____
- Ridiculously simple movement: _________________
Here are some examples that other families have committed to:
- 2 minutes of jumping jacks
- 30 seconds of planking (actually kind of hard to hold that)
- 2 minutes of jogging
- 20 minutes of jogging
- 15 minutes of dancing twice a day
- 5 minutes of dancing
- 10 minutes of an exercise video on youtube
- Yours: ______ minutes of ___________
- Join the Minimum Movement Challenge!
- Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @betamomma when you post about it and use #MinimumMovementChallenge. I would love to cheer you on!
Once you have mastered a minimum movement for 2-3 weeks in a row, then build on that. Add a few minutes or a few more jumps or a few more angles of incline. Always be moving. Become an active adult. Watch your kids become active adults!
Free 2 Week Course to Get Moving!
Still doubting how you an keep your family’s goal of staying active? Sign up for the free 2 week plan for progress course. After the course, you’ll develop an action plan, overcome your obstacles, and be confident in making progress towards keeping your family healthy and moving!