Start Kids’ Exercise on the Right Foot

It’s never been harder, or more important, to help your children get and stay active. 

No generation of kids has grown up around and interacting as much with screens as today’s kids, and they’re even more likely to spend their careers looking at a screen than those who are college-age now.

Sedentary living and obesity is on the rise with youth and young adults, so parents need to press the importance and fun of being physically active starting in toddlerhood so it becomes a normal and enjoyable part of their lifestyle alongside their devices.

Many families have been successful at keeping their kids active through activity-based video games, and they can be a valuable tool for keeping them off the couch, but you’ll need to keep them engaged with “real life” nature, sports and people.

Here are a few ways to light the spark within them.

Let them “catch” you during your workouts, take them to your volleyball matches, and let them see that exercise is a valued part of your life. Volunteer for youth sports leagues before your kids are even old enough to play, so they can hang out around that environment so it’ll be a seamless transition when they are able to sign up.

Whenever your child discovers something they enjoy doing that raises their heart rate and turns their grin into a toothy smile, let them dive into and explore it; keep them swimming, hiking, dancing or kickboxing, whatever it turns out to be. During family visits to the zoo or amusement park, pack in the walking and running. Take the long way whenever you can, but don’t tell anybody that’s what you’re doing!

Walk or bike with them to school, the park, the library and the grocery store whenever it’s feasible. Teach them these are valid forms of transportation as long as they’re done safely. This will help keep them fit and make them less dependent on greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles to reach any destination they need to.