How to Get Your Kids Exercising

Eric Mikkelson |

The electronic age may have made life easier and more convenient for you and your children or grandchildren. But it also has made a lot of us more sedentary.

You know what it takes to get exercising: a plan and a little initiative. But how do you get the little ones moving?

Here are some tips to get the children (or grandchildren) exercising and, at the same time, loving it:

• Get a move on together. Instead of watching TV or playing video games after dinner, go outside for a walk or a bike ride. You can go play basketball or catch.

• An hour of power. OK. You’re outside. Your next goal is to stay out there and moving for at least 60 minutes. Performing a variety of activities—running, walking, skipping rope, or playing at the playground—may help you put in the time.

• Your children love gadgets. So, why not get them a step counter? They can measure how many steps to the playground slide, to the telephone pole, or to their friend’s house. They can see how fast they can take 50 steps.

• On the other side, you don’t have to go high tech. Low tech will do. How about a tennis racket, a jump rope, a hula hoop, or skates? Just some good, old-fashioned fun.

• Sometimes it’s all about location, location, location. Go to the park. Do a picnic at the lake. How about going to the baseball field? Kind of like taking a very short vacation.

• “Kiai!” Enrolling in activity classes—karate, tennis, or dance—is a great way to get your children moving and excited about exercising.

• Go back to the video games. But use the ones with motion sensors.

• Make exercise fun. How about building a snowman or jumping in the leaves? You can walk (or skip) to the library or the park. Or you can go plant some flowers. You’re taking “exercise” out of the equation and putting in “fun.”

A few simple steps can get you and your children moving and create healthy habits.