Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Motivate Kids to Exercise

How to Motivate Kids to Exercise
By Amy Brantley, eHow Contributing Writer

There was a time when going out and playing with your friends was something every kid loved to do. Times have changed though. Many kids prefer to stay indoors playing video games or surfing the Internet. In other words, parents need to get creative in order to motivate kids to exercise. This is something that parents shouldn't take lightly. Juvenile diabetes is on the rise, and one way to help beat it is for kids to exercise. Thankfully, there are fun things you can do to help motivate them.

• Exercise with them. Parents and kids both lead busy lifestyles. Exercising is not only a way to spend time together, but it's a great way to learn about each other. Go for a hike and talk about life, or even shoot some hoops. Children often long for a way to spend more time with their parents and this is an excellent way to do so.

• Find a sport that they like. Kids usually don't exercise because it's boring. Exercise needs to be something interesting. Once a kid finds a sport that he likes, exercise becomes part of his daily routine. This is mostly because sports don't seem like exercise. Sports are fun and a great way to spend time with friends.

• Incorporate video games. Video games have been looked down upon by parents for many years, in part because they are often played from the couch. Times are changing though. Kids can now exercise while playing video games. Thanks to "Dance, Dance Revolution" and the Nintendo Wii, video games now burn calories. You'll have no trouble at all motivating your kids to exercise when you bring out a great game like Wii Sports.

• Make it fun. Exercise has to be fun or it will seem like a chore. That's why things like sports and video games work so well. Kids are motivated by fun; try setting up a mini boot camp course in your backyard instead of just suggesting push-ups or a walk to give them something challenging and exciting.

• Offer a reward system. Just like chores, a reward system will also motivate kids to exercise. Start a chart and have kids write down how much they exercised each day and what type of exercise it was. Different types of exercise can have different points. Choose prizes for them to work towards and set a point's goal for each prize.