How to get your kids moving

Hula-HoopRunning and playing is being replaced by sedentary activities. As a parent perhaps we should be monitoring and restricting television and computer game playing time. Some reports show that too much gadget playing can dull children’s alertness and response times and just simply stop them noticing things. Research is also taking place to determine how much these changes are affecting children’s memory and retention of information.

If we move ourselves it is setting a great example and encouraging our children to move themselves too. Exercising together can be fun for everyone. This is not always possible but everyone can encourage the joining and taking part in competitive sports. We must be careful not to burden our children with the ‘keeping fit’ message just inspire by participation and support. Walking or cycling to school, dancing, bowling and yoga are some other ways for kids to get exercise. Here are some other ideas:-

Walk the dog  Use the family dog as a motivator. Don’t just open the back door and let him out.

Choose your time After school is also a good time for kids, who’ve been sitting all day and need to burn off some of that pent-up energy. Perhaps a family walk after dinner in the evening would be a good way to calm children before bedtime

Mix it up Don’t forget that play is exercise. If you go for a cycle one day, go roller-skating the next. Work, such as gardening and clearing leaves is also exercise. Don’t limit your idea of exercise to just going to the gym

Take the stairs instead of lifts and encourage children to count and run up them instead or time them and try and break the record each time you climb them

Invite friends Your children will be happy to run and play with their friends while out walking and it won’t seem remotely like a chore. You can invite their whole family

Track progress Show on your calendar what who did and when It’s very motivating to see how often everyone is exercising. You could introduce competition, keep a chart of games won, best times, miles cycled, and so on. Tracking will help ensure that these new habits become ingrained in life

Be creative Exercise with kids whenever the opportunity arises. If you’re standing in a queue suggest star jumps, race from the house to the car, do high knees while during the television advert break

Break it down If getting the kids to commit to exercising is difficult, tell them you’re only going to do it for five minutes — long enough to at least break a small sweat. Doing a five-minute bike ride or a five-minute jog is easy for anyone. It is likely that it will turn into ten once they are up and enjoying themselves

Do it for charity Sometimes a good cause can get everyone motivated. Find which local organisations are hosting fundraising cycle rides or arrange your own

Appointment to have fun We all respond to a schedule. Set a time and place for your family activity and write it on the family calendar. Ask everyone to commit to your fitness appointment. If you’ve scheduled a bike ride but the weather is uncooperative, then turn on the Wii and play tennis indoors or blast some music and have a dance competition

Let them choose Ask your kids to take charge of the family exercise schedule for a week and promise that you’ll do whatever they choose. You’ll probably be surprised at the creative ideas they come up with. You can also rotate weekly every family member gets to be the chooser for a week

Pool games Don’t just leave it to the swimming teacher a swimming pool has endless ways of exercising with your kids

Make a contract Write a contract with family members and sign it. Mark down goals and assess if they have been achieved

Keep realistic Trying to get the whole family to cycle 20 miles straight away would be de-motivating start with small distances and build them up

Use your imagination Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t go swimming. Try a brand new activity such as learning to rock climb at a climbing gym or riding horses. Kicking a ball round the garden and into a goal still motivates most children. Introduce a Frisbee, jump a rope, crawl through a hoola hoop

Circuit training Rather than a boring gym routine, circuit training for kids can incorporate any sports drill, Yoga pose or exercise – and can be done indoors or out, in a pool or on the playground. Set up eight to 10 circuit stations and alternate cardio, strength training, flexibility and balance exercises. Preschoolers should be at each station for thirty seconds or less and two to five minutes is good for older kids.

Keep an eye on your local leisure centre for ideas, you may be surprised at what they offer.