How to get your kids interested in physical activity

Obesity has been a growing issue in America for decades. This is something that has gotten worse every year. The CDC says that 18.9% of children 2 to 19 years of age are affected by obesity. This percentage is talking about obesity, not children overweight. America as a whole is 71% overweight. Can this be due to the fatty foods that are easily assessable or the lack of physical activity that individuals get? 

Yes, the ABs are made in the kitchen, but the fat from the fatty foods can be burned off by the physical activity. When most people think of the physical activity, they think of a gym workout or a 3-mile run. Good news, this is not the case for all physical activity. 

Why are children not getting the physical activity that they need to be at a healthy weight? This list could go on for days, but the main factor is kids are not interested in doing any kind of physical activity. How do you as a parent get your child to want to participate in physical activity?  

Be a Role Model. Your children are watching and will mimic the habits that you show. If they see that you are enjoying some type of physical activity, they are more likely to be active. This is also something that will continue throughout their lives. 
Involve the Family. Make physical activity a family event. This is the perfect way to have family time. Walk and talk. This encourages kids to get out and have fun. 
Focus on the Fun. Make the activity fun. Physical activity does not have to be the typical running around lifting weights. Anything that will get your kid up and moving. Spike ball is something that is super fun to do.
Make the activity social. Invite people over when having family activity. This adds something different to the process. Kids don’t get burned out just playing games with the family. 
Competition to motivate. Use competition to motivate them to do the activity. A point system per activity or run that they perform. Points could be added up at the end of the week/month and the winner gets a prize. 
Give gifts that promote physical activity. When your husband or wife would buy you cooking ware or fitness clothes, you always wondered if they are trying to say something. To your kids, you are saying something. Buy them workout gear or clothes that they will want to wear to workout in or play the sport. 
Limit screen time. Take away the phone, TV, Computer, and whatever else that has a screen. During this time, make that the physical activity time. Get them in a routine of doing this daily. 
Plan vacations around fun and new activities. The trip does not have to be completely planned around the activity. When looking for a place to stay, find a place that is around something that has some kind of activity to do. This could be tennis, pickleball, disc golf, or etc..

It all starts with the parents. If you as a parent are not wanting to do any activity or show you have no interest, the children will notice and head in that direction. Physical Activity has gotten a bad name because people act like it is the worse thing possible. It is a healthy lifestyle that pays off in the long run. Stop saying you don’t have time to exercise. People make time for what is important to them. As a parent, your child’s health should be a priority.


Written by christian Johnston

Assistant Athletic Trainer at Delta State University. 2019 Athletic Trainer of the year. 6 years served in the Mississippi National Guard.


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