Childhood obesity is a global epidemic with staggering statistics. According to the World Health Organization, in 2016 340 million children age 5-19 were obese. In 2020, 39 million children around the world under the age of 5 were considered obese.
Numbers like these can be discouraging to those of us trying to bring our love of fitness to an increasingly sedentary population, but hope is definitely not lost.
Getting children moving is a great first step in helping them choose a healthier lifestyle and creating healthy kids. Although often easier said than done when you are battling cell phones, video games and movie streaming services, following these five steps will not only help in motivating children to move, it will get them asking to do it again.
Limit Their Digital World
Our children are not fit because they are so busy on digital devices that they have stopped moving. This is why the rate of childhood obesity has steadily increased since 1975.
The first step to getting kids moving is to limit the things that make them want to be still.
Carve digital free time into every day. Will they be mad at first? Probably. Doesn’t matter.
Remove the distractions and get them off their butts. Not only is movement good for their body, less screen time is good for their minds. Think about all the hours of mindless entertainment spent in front of a game or TV where they aren’t developing important things like critical thinking skills.
Figure Out What They Think Is Fun
One of the biggest mistakes adults make when trying to get children active is sucking all the fun out of it. They sign their kids up for organized sports when they are not competitive. Or they get them a gym membership and tell them to work out alone when they love being around people.
Think about why you exercise. If you hate swimming, are you going to get up every morning and do 50 laps? Of course not!
Learn about the child you are trying to motivate and keep remembering that this is about what they enjoy, not what you enjoy. Pick activities that they will actually want to do over and again.
Make It a Family Affair
There is no question that families that are active tend to have healthy children. This is because an active lifestyle becomes ingrained in children as something positive. If it becomes linked to happy times spent with their parents and siblings, it will motivate them to want to do it again.
Once again, take the pressure off and keep it fun! A fit family does not mean one that goes to the gym to do a workout every day – unless that’s what everyone enjoys doing. Instead, pack a lunch and go on a healthy picnic or rent some bikes for the afternoon.
Does everyone in the family get motivated by competition? Have a Spikeball game or play some tennis.
The main thing is to do it together.
Take Movement Breaks
Movement breaks for children are a great way to add exercise into a day that is otherwise not very active. These breaks can be done at home and are also a great way to get kids moving in the classroom.
Set a timer so that several times within a class period, or throughout the day at home, everyone stops what they are doing and moves. You can put on music and dance or play a quick game. If you aren’t feeling overly creative in the moment, just stop everything and do some jumping jacks. Movement breaks are so quick and easy that kids won’t even realize they were exercising.
Include Their Friends
Children are social creatures, especially in adolescence. Because of this, one of the greatest motivators for movement may be doing it with their friends.
Once again, knowing what your child thinks is fun is key here, because that is likely what their friends will enjoy as well. It may be a hike, or a day at the beach swimming or a game of kickball. The added bonus is that you get even more kids moving.
Let us help you out.
If you want to get yourself moving, hit us up. We can get you setup with a periodized workout plan, supplement information, and advice on nutrition to help you reach your goals.
Personal trainers, like those found here, can help guide you on your pathway towards reaching your fitness goals, whether that is getting bigger, stronger, faster, more lean, or just staying in shape while stuck at home.
The only thing you need is some motivation and a willingness to change some old habits.
Get into contact with us to find out what membership is right for you. In a Conditionerd program, you’ll be surrounded by others who can help you to get where you want to be.
Generally, our clients start to see some pretty awesome changes in 2-3 months time, some sooner.