When your child hears the word “exercise” they immediately want to do something else. After all, exercise sounds boring, and worse, seems like work. For adults and school aged children, it brings to mind forced laps in PE class, then going to the next class all sweaty because the showers don’t work. Not fun at all. In fact, some would describe it as torture.
No Torture Required
The thing is, every day activities are fun and can also be classified as exercise. Bike riding, walking, playing at the park, swimming, skating and gardening, are all exercise as far as your body is concerned. But, as far as your mind is concerned, it’s fun. Children will dance around a room for hours as long as it’s dancing and not exercise. So, the first way to incorporate exercise without kids knowing it is to not call it exercise.
Take Your Child to a Playground
Playgrounds have a lot of equipment such as monkey bars, slides, jungle gyms and more. Encourage your child to play on each piece of equipment for fun, and do it with him. Pushing your child on the swing set, then taking turns and letting them “push” you is great exercise and great fun for everyone. Let go and have fun, don’t take it too seriously.
If you have a community pool that you can go to on a regular basis this is a fun way for kids to get exercise without them knowing it’s exercise. Have splashing contests and races to get the blood pumping. Asking little Johnny how fast he can swim to the side and having him do it again and again while you time him is fun, not exercise. If your child can’t swim, keep them in the shallow end and have them “run” from side to side as fast as they can while you supervise.
Get a Pet
Pets are a really good way to make sure that kids get exercise without knowing it. Playing catch with a dog or walking a dog is great fun and exercise. Dogs must be walked, just using the backyard is not good for dogs, so encourage your children to take the family pet for a walk and also play chase and games with their pets.
Go for nature hikes, and let your kids bring a friend. When friends are around something that is challenging becomes plain old fun. While on the hike add a little challenge to the hike by running in sprints for some of the hike when on flat land. “Hey let’s see how fast we can get to that tree.” Will make for a lot of fun and get the blood pumping.
Schedule fun activities into your family calendar to make sure that movement happens on a regular basis. Let kids also pick some activities they like. But you must ensure that the activity has to involvement movement, not sitting down playing games, and your kids will become fitter by simply having just having fun!