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How to Motivate Kids to Exercise

A picture of kids exercising in the room.

Living an active life is not only important for adults, but it is also important for kids. Exercise plays an essential role in helping kids maintain physical and mental health, as well as providing them with a sense of confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, getting young people to become active can be a difficult task.

Kids often lack the motivation needed to make healthy choices, so it is important to provide them with the right encouragement and support. Here are some tips on how to motivate kids to exercise.

Why Learning to Exercise Young Is So Important

Before we get into the specifics of motivating kids to exercise, it is important to understand why physical activity is so beneficial for young people. Of course, there are many obvious physical benefits, such as improved muscle tone and cardiovascular health, but promoting a healthy lifestyle at an early age can also have other positive effects.

Exercise helps kids develop good habits that will stay with them into adulthood. It can also promote better academic performance since physical activity has been linked to enhanced concentration and improved brain function. Furthermore, exercising regularly can give children the confidence they need to overcome obstacles in other areas of their lives.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these and other benefits.

5 Benefits of Teaching Your Kids Exercise Habits Early

1. Improved Physical Health

A group of kids standing stance for their exercise with their teacher.

Good physical health is the foundation of healthy living. Teaching your kids to exercise can help them develop strong muscles and bones, a healthy body weight, better coordination, and improved balance. Regular activity can also help reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity in the future.

2. Improved Mental and Emotional Health

Encouraging your children to be physically active will also help them experience improved mental health. Studies have shown that physical activity can reduce the risk of depression, improve concentration and memory, and increase self-esteem. Exercise can also reduce stress levels, allowing your kids to better manage their emotions.

3. Improved Social Development

Physical activities like team sports can help your children develop strong social skills, such as communication and cooperation. Participating in physical activity with friends or family helps children learn to work cooperatively and interact positively with others. Furthermore, playing team sports can help kids stay motivated by building healthy relationships and learning from their peers.

4. Healthier Habits for Life

Four kids doing their exercise outside on the grass.

By teaching your kids the importance of physical activity early, you can help create healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Exercising regularly is an important part of developing a healthy lifestyle. Helping your kids develop good exercise habits now will make them more likely to maintain those habits as they grow older.

5. Healthier Connection with Their Bodies

Finally, developing a healthy relationship with their bodies is an important part of overall well-being. Exercise can help your kids become more in tune with their bodies, giving them a greater sense of control and appreciation. It can also help them feel more comfortable with their physical appearance and gain overall confidence in themselves.

How to Teach Your Child How to Exercise

When it’s time to start motivating your kids to exercise, there are a few things you can do to create an environment that encourages physical activity.

Here are some tips for getting your kids started:

1. Set Goals

A boy doing his own exercise training with his trainer.

Setting goals can be a great way to motivate kids to stay physically active. Explain what it takes for them to reach their goals, and encourage them to take part in activities or sports that help them achieve their goals.

Make sure the goals are achievable.

It’s wonderful for your child to have big aspirations. For example, if your child wants to be a gymnast, you can help them set milestones like mastering basic tumbling techniques and then working their way up.

Breaking big goals down into manageable steps helps your child stay motivated and make progress.

2. Make Exercise Fun

When introducing physical activity to your kids, it’s important to make it fun! Kids want to do activities they find enjoyable or that have some sort of reward attached. If you can turn exercise into a game, like playing tag with their friends or setting up a treasure hunt in the backyard, it’s more likely to stick.

Speaking of going outside, spending time outdoors has a number of health benefits and can help your kids stay active. Take advantage of the summer months by finding activities that keep them moving, like going for a nature walk or playing sports in the park. Not only will it keep them busy, but it will also provide an opportunity to talk about the importance of physical activity.

Some awesome (and fun) active outdoor activities include:

  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Skateboarding
  • Frisbee golf.

3. Find Activities that Suit Their Interests

Four kids stretching their hands above their heads.

If your child is already interested in a certain sport or hobby, use that as motivation to get started. For example, if they love playing video games, you can suggest activities that mimic the same movements, like dancing. Or if they love to read, you can encourage them to go for a walk or play some basketball during breaks in their reading schedule.

Finding activities that your child enjoys and wants to do will help keep them motivated and interested in staying active.

4. Encourage Positive Self-talk

Remind your kids that physical activity is good for their bodies and minds. Help them build a positive attitude when it comes to exercise by encouraging them to talk positively about themselves and recognize the progress they’re making.

Encouraging positive self-talk can be as simple as telling your child how proud you are of them when they’ve achieved a goal or when they try something new. You can also use positive affirmations to build their confidence and help them recognize that physical activity is beneficial for their health and well-being.

However, the key here is to get them thinking about how they feel regarding their own accomplishments. For instance, instead of giving them constant praise, asking them to describe how it felt to achieve their goals will help them develop a sense of independence and ownership over their progress.

Try to get them to speak in adjectives and “I” statements. For example, they might say, “I feel strong when I lift weights” or “It felt great to run longer than I ever have before.”

5. Lead by Example

Mother and daughter doing exercises in the house.

The best way to motivate your kids is for them to see you doing it as well. If you are exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle, there’s a greater chance that your kids will follow in your footsteps.

So work out together! It’s a great way to spend time with your children, teach them about the importance of physical activity and have fun at the same time.

You can also make physical activity part of your family routine. For example, you could go for walks together after dinner or plan active weekend outings.

6. Provide Resources and Support

If you want your kids to stay motivated, it’s important to provide them with access to the proper resources and support. This could be anything from finding an instructor for a specific sport or activity to simply providing additional guidance in physical education classes.

By giving your children the tools they need to succeed, you will empower them to stay motivated and active.

Watching videos about different sports and exercise routines is also a great way to keep your routines fresh.

Finally, providing them with a healthy diet and plenty of rest will help your kids stay energized throughout the day – allowing them to participate in physical activities with enthusiasm.

7. Celebrate Achievements

A group of kids celebrating and raising their fists.

The best way to keep kids motivated is by celebrating their successes. Let them know how proud you are of all their hard work, and celebrate each milestone with a special reward or activity, like a day at the beach or a movie night.

This will make them feel valued and appreciated, which in turn will motivate them to set new goals and keep striving for improvement.

By employing these simple techniques, you can help your kids stay excited about physical activity – ultimately leading to a healthier lifestyle that is fun and rewarding for everyone.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that every kid is different. Figure out what works best for your family and keep them motivated with lots of love and support! With a little bit of effort, you can help your kids learn to enjoy physical activity and experience all its amazing benefits.

How to Teach Your Child Self-Motivation

Now, learning to exercise is well and good, but the key is to stick with it. And some days, a triple chocolate fudge sundae while sitting on the couch and binging your favorite show just calls louder than the gym.

Hey, we’re all human, and a little indulgence once in a blue moon is normal.

But we can’t do this every time we feel like it. Adults struggle with commitment, so how in the world are we supposed to teach it to our kids?

Well, first of all, there’s power in teaching your children something you are learning yourself. Letting them in on the secret that you’re still learning too is a great way to foster communication and understanding.

Then, your kids will learn the importance of self-motivation by you setting a good example. Modeling behavior that shows them how to stick with something even when it’s hard or not, especially fun, is an essential skill for adulthood. You don’t have to be perfect at it yourself, but you should be honest about your own successes and failures to give them the best perspective.

Let’s take a look at some tactics your child (and you) can use to keep up your healthy habits even when you feel less than motivated to do so.

1. Find your why

A photo of kids racing.

It’s not enough to just “exercise.” You have to get clear on what you’re doing it for. Maybe it’s because you want to be strong and fit – great! Maybe it’s because it helps alleviate anxiety – also great! Whatever the case may be, having a WHY is essential in keeping up with any activity.

Once your child has a reason for why they want to exercise, you can encourage them to write it down and post it somewhere they’ll see it often (like their bedroom wall). Just seeing the words can be enough of a reminder when they’re feeling uninspired.

If you and your child are struggling to come up with your “why,” there is a great stream-of-consciousness exercise you can engage in that will help you whittle it down. (It’s fun too!)

Start by answering the question, “Why do I want to exercise?”

Write down your first answer. It could be anything, no matter how silly or small.

Now ask yourself, “Why?” about that same answer. Write down that answer and then ask yourself why again. Do this until you can’t think of any more answers and have whittled down the main reason behind your desire to stay active.

It’s often not something you’ll expect.

I myself, for example, keep active because I want to stay healthy to be at my best (mentally, physically, and spiritually) for my family, and working out at the start of the day helps me organize my thoughts and orient myself towards that goal.

2. Make it fun

If your child is dragging their feet when it comes to exercising, encourage them to put a creative spin on the activities they do.

Maybe you can rent a trampoline and play games with them or join a class together where learning new skills provide more engagement than just running or lifting weights.

You could even make up your own fun activities at home to do with your child. The possibilities are endless, and you can tailor it to their interests. Who knows, maybe they’ll find something that sticks!

3. Make a plan

A picture of kids doing their squats.

Having a plan for exercising is essential if we want to stick with it. You can help your child set their schedule for the week, chunking out what days and times they will exercise, and be sure to include some “fun” activities too.

It’s also a good idea to create short-term goals that are achievable in order to encourage your child to stay on track. For instance, if they find themselves having difficulties keeping a straight 30-minute workout routine, start with 10 minutes and build up from there.

Reward systems can be useful too – maybe they get an extra 30 minutes of video game time or some other treat when they achieve their goal!

4. Make it a family affair

Lastly, make exercise a family affair! Not only will this help your child stay motivated and accountable, but it can also be a great way to bond with them.

You could turn it into a game where everyone tracks their progress or take the time to do an activity together, like bike riding or swimming.

Making exercise a family affair will also provide opportunities for healthy competition and children love that! They may even surprise themselves with how much they can push themselves when they have the support of their loved ones.

The key to motivating your kids to exercise is to make it fun. Try activities that they enjoy and that are appropriate for their age and level of development. Also, remember to be a positive role model, as children tend to mimic the behavior that they see in adults. With the right attitude and support, you can help your children reap the benefits of exercise now and in the future.

How to Teach Your Teenager Advanced Exercise Techniques

Teens doing advanced exercise techniques.

Maybe you’ve raised an active child, and now that your teenager is starting to take their fitness more seriously, they’re ready to tackle some more advanced techniques. With the right instruction and guidance, you can help them take the next step in their exercise routine.

First and foremost, it’s best to consult with a doctor before beginning any new or overly strenuous exercises. This is especially true for teenagers, as their bodies are still growing and developing.

Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead from a medical professional, it’s time to start with the basics. Proper form is key, so take your time teaching them the foundations of exercises like squats, push-ups, crunches, and more.

From there, you can introduce more complex moves like plyometrics and weightlifting. Make sure to demonstrate the correct form and provide plenty of feedback as they practice. You should also emphasize safety: always use proper equipment, start with low weights or resistance levels, and be aware of personal limits such as fatigue or breathlessness.

Your teenager may also be interested in learning more about nutrition. Help them understand the importance of a balanced diet, portion control, and hydration. You can even use online resources to explore recipes and meal plans that are healthy while still being tasty and enjoyable.

By teaching your teenager advanced exercise techniques, you’re instilling the importance of a healthy lifestyle in their life. With your help, they can reach their fitness goals and reap the rewards of exercise now and in the future.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common techniques you can use to teach healthy exercise habits to your adolescent.

1. Start with the basics

Kids doing the basics of exercises.

It’s important to start with basic moves and ensure that these are done correctly. Don’t rush them into more advanced exercises without teaching them the fundamentals first, as this could lead to injury or incorrect form.

Stretching is a great way to start, as it helps the body become used to exercising and improves flexibility.

Once these basics are mastered, you can teach them more advanced exercises such as squats, lunges, and core-strengthening moves like crunches and planks.

2. Practice proper form and safety

Always make sure your teenager is using the correct posture and form when doing any exercise. Additionally, emphasize the importance of safety and provide advice on how to use equipment or weights properly.

To teach safety, you can explain the concept of “listening to your body.” This means stopping when something feels wrong or if an exercise is too difficult.

Also, make sure to discuss proper hydration and nutrition for athletes so that they have enough energy to get through their workout.

Be sure to watch reputable instructional videos, and consult with a medical professional before trying any new or complex exercises.

3. Make exercise fun and enjoyable

Kids enjoying exercising on yoga mat.

The key to motivating your teenager is to make physical activity enjoyable. If they don’t enjoy it, chances are they won’t stick with it for very long.

A great way to do this is by finding activities that suit their interests and goals. For example, if they like playing sports, you might consider signing them up for a team or league. If they’re more of a solitary exerciser, enroll them in classes where they can learn techniques such as yoga or Pilates.

And, when they reach the point in their exercise where they have to do the tough stuff to improve, remind them that pushing through the difficult and even strenuous workouts will help them improve in whatever sport they’re playing (or whatever goal they’re trying to achieve).

This teaches mental toughness, as well as the ability to persevere even when it gets hard. It’s a valuable lesson that will serve them well in all aspects of their lives, not just physical activity.

4. Introduce weight training

Weight training is beneficial for teenagers, as it can help them to build muscle, improve their posture and increase bone density. However, it’s important to start with light weights or resistance bands and emphasize proper form for safety reasons. You can also introduce challenging moves like plyometrics (jumping exercises) once they have mastered the basics of weight training.

It’s also important to make sure your teenager has the right equipment. Having the right shoes, clothing, and support is essential to reduce the risk of injury.

5. Focus on nutrition too

Ideas for healthy meals the whole family can cook.

Nutrition is just as important as exercise in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so take some time to educate your teenager about what foods are best for their body and how to prepare them. This includes teaching them about portion sizes, the importance of hydration, and eating a balanced diet.

You should also teach your teenager how to read food labels and understand what ingredients are in their food.

It’s important to remember that healthy eating isn’t just about losing weight but rather feeding the body with all of the essential nutrients it needs to function properly.

6. Set realistic goals and track progress

Setting achievable goals for your adolescent is a great way to motivate them to stay active. Help them establish short-term and long-term goals, such as running a certain distance in a certain amount of time or building up to lifting a certain number of pounds.

You can also set goals for eating healthy, such as drinking more water or increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables.

By tracking their progress, your teen will be able to see the fruits of their labor. They’ll be better able to appreciate the hard work that goes into exercising and eating right, and this can serve as a great source of motivation.

7. Reward progress

A photo of girl on her karate stance.

Motivating teenagers is not only about setting goals but also recognizing their efforts when they achieve those goals or make progress toward them. This can come in many forms—a small token of appreciation, a day of rest, or anything that shows them you are proud of their hard work.

It’s also important to provide positive reinforcement for good behavior. This could include words of encouragement or simply saying something like, “I’m so proud of your effort.”

By recognizing and rewarding progress, your teenager will be more motivated to stay active and make healthier choices.

Common Mistakes Kids Make When Exercising

Now that you know how to motivate your child or teenager, it’s important to understand some of the mistakes they may make when exercising. First, improper form can increase the risk of injury and diminish results.

1. Teach them about overtraining.

It’s important to remind your kid or teenager not to overdo it. Just like adults, kids can fall into the trap of thinking that more is better when it comes to exercise. They may push themselves too hard and end up feeling fatigued, sore, or worse—injured.

Remind them that rest days are important for muscle recovery and to avoid burnout.

2. Encourage them to stay hydrated.

Woman drinking water over sunset.

Dehydration can lead to a decrease in performance, so make sure your teenager is drinking enough water during exercise. A good rule of thumb is for them to drink about eight ounces of water for every 20 minutes of moderate activity or four ounces of water for every 20 minutes of intense activity.

3. Discourage them from skipping warm-up and cool-down sessions.

Warm-ups and cool-downs are essential to avoid injuries, so encourage your kid or teenager to take a few minutes before and after exercise to stretch and get their heart rate up or down gradually.

4. Watch for under-eating

Also, be sure to remind them to listen to their bodies and stop if they feel any pain or discomfort. This will help them avoid potential injuries.

Finally, be aware of the signs of under-eating, such as unusual fatigue or decreased energy. A balanced diet is essential to fueling their body with proper nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Strategies for Helping Kids Who Are Struggling With Motivation To Exercise

Kids struggling on their exercises.

 If you are having trouble motivating your adolescent to exercise, there are a few strategies that may help.

1. Make it a habit.

Creating an exercise routine and making it part of their daily habits will help them stay motivated to stay active. By doing this, they’ll be more likely to make physical activity a priority rather than something they do when they have free time.

2. Find something they enjoy doing.

If your teen isn’t into traditional exercise, like running or going to the gym, try to find an activity that interests them and makes them want to move their bodies. This could be anything from playing a sport to dancing or even going for a walk in nature.

3. Make it social.

Exercising with friends can be a great source of motivation, so encourage your teen to get some buddies together and find an activity they all enjoy (e.g., playing soccer or going for a bike ride). This will make exercise more fun and help them stay motivated in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, so it’s essential to find ways to motivate your kid or teenager to be active. By recognizing their efforts and providing positive reinforcement when they make progress, you can help them stay motivated in the long run.

Additionally, teaching them about common mistakes that are made when exercising and finding activities they enjoy can help to ensure that they maintain a healthy lifestyle. Finally, don’t forget to be proud of your efforts! With the right strategies and encouragement, you can help your teenager stay active and enjoy the benefits of exercise for years to come.

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