By encouraging your children to exercise every day, you can help them maintain a healthy weight and lead a healthy lifestyle that will help prevent diseases like cancer later in life.
As soon as your children can walk, they should be up and moving. Kids under six should enjoy natural, daily physical activity like running, jumping and skipping. And, kids ages six to 17 should exercise at an intensity high enough to raise their heart rate for at least 60 minutes a day, five days a week.
Try these tips to encourage your kids to get moving:
Be a role model: If your kids see you being physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active throughout their lives.
Use exercise as transportation: Walk or bike with your kids to school, to visit friends or to the park.
Involve the whole family in activities: Invite everyone to go hiking, biking, roller skating, or to play basketball or football.
Focus on fun: Pack in lots of walking during trips to the zoo, park or miniature-golf course.
Use competition as a motivator: Kids love to compete. So, make it a contest between you and the kids to see who can run faster, do more push-ups, sit-ups or jumping jacks and give the winner non-food-related prizes. And remember, winning often motivates kids, so don't be afraid to "lose" once in a while.
Include kids in household activities: Many household chores are also great opportunities to sneak in a little physical activity. Encourage physical activity by having your kids help out with washing the dog or the car, or mowing the lawn.
Give gifts that promote physical activity: Rollerblades, bicycles, ice skates, soccer balls and even the Wii Fit make great gifts for birthdays and holidays. Even better, they encourage your kids to get moving.
Limit TV and computer time: Offer them active options, like joining a local recreation center or after-school program, or taking lessons in a sport they enjoy. When your family does watch TV together, get everyone moving during commercial breaks by doing jumping jacks, hula-hooping or jumping rope.