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FOSTERING Fitness

Inspiring Kids to Get Excited About Physical Activity

By Audrey Sellers

Kids who are physically active tend to be healthier and happier than their less-active peers. They typically get better grades in school, find it easier to concentrate, and report higher levels of self-confidence. Kids need at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity, but in today’s digital age, gettingthem away from their screens canseem like a monumental task.


With some creativity, you caninspire your kids to embrace physical activity and make it a fun and enjoyable part of their daily routine. Consider this your no-nagging guide to getting kids excited about exercise.


Show them how it’s done. Want your kids to be more active? Lead by example. Go for a family walk after dinner, or let your kids see you practice yoga or lift weights. Kids often emulate their parent’s behavior, so prioritize physical activity in your own life to be a healthy role model.


Establish family fitness traditions. You could kick off each month with a hike around a local lake or register for the same 5K every year. By making physical activity something you do together, you’ll create shared experiences and form closer bonds.


Offer some variety. Ask your kids what sports or recreational activities they’d like to try. You might be able to signup for a free trial class for activities like gymnastics and martial arts. Let your kids try different things and encourage them to pursue what they really like.


Get outdoors. Encourage your kids to soak up the sunshine while being active outside. Go for a bike ride together or plan a hike where kids can climb and play freely. Check out local lakes for water activities like stand-up paddle boarding to keep things interesting.


Make physical activity fun. Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore. You can make it more entertaining and engaging for kids by turning it into a game. Try setting up an obstacle course with household items like laundry baskets and pillows. Create a scavenger hunt in the backyard or organize a relay race at your neighborhood park.


Tout all the benefits. Exercising makes you feel energized, mentally sharp, and ready to tackle the world. Aftera challenging run or cardio session, emphasize that endorphin-fueled rush with your kids. Shift the focus away from physical activity as an obligation and instead emphasize how good it makes you feel physically and mentally.


Set goals and celebrate achievements. Giving your kids something to work toward can inspire them to stay physically active. Depending on their age, you could challenge them to run a mile in a certain amount of time or complete a set number of push-ups with proper form. When kids reach a new milestone, celebrate their accomplishment with a special outing or small reward, like getting an extra 10 minutes before bedtime.


When kids are physically active, it’s not just about burning off extra energy — it’s about building strong bodies and healthy minds. With a little parental encouragement, you can set them on a path toward a healthy and active lifestyle.


“ Exercise has multiple benefits, both physical and emotional.In the orthopedic world, we encourage activity that helpskeep both the body and the mind sharp. It is also important to remember that children are not just little adults. Their skeletal systems are not fully mature. In today’s environment of year- round sports, this can create overuse injuries and syndrome. We strongly recommend the concept of periodization. This idea is to change activities frequently to prevent undo stress in one particular area. A common place we see these overuse injuries is in shoulder and elbow problems from throwing sports year-round. Make a concerted attempt to change activities to avoid problems of overuse. Remember that rest and recovery are equally as important as the activity. These recommendations are in an effort to keep you out of the orthopedic office.Stay active and healthy.”


– G. TODD MOORE, D.O. BOARD CERTIFIED ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY AND SPORTS MEDICINE

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