In today’s digital age, children are increasingly drawn to sedentary activities like playing video games or engaging with digital content on their computers and cell phones. Daily exercise can often be limited.
According to the American Heart Association, children age six and older need at least an hour of moderate to vigorous activity every day to help them maintain a healthy weight and keep their hearts, brains and bodies healthy.
How can you make exercise fun for your children? Try these helpful tips to engage them and build interest in making exercise a healthy habit that continues as they grow into adults.
Tip 1: Lead by example
Participating in family activities promotes physical fitness and fosters quality time together. Children are likelier to embrace an active lifestyle if their parents, siblings or close relatives exercise regularly.
Be a role model for your children by incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. Whether going for a morning jog, participating in community races, or simply taking regular walks—your commitment and enthusiasm will be infectious and set an example to follow.
Tip 2: Get creative
Making exercise fun and enjoyable with playful elements helps to capture a child’s attention. Try activities such as family races, obstacle courses in the backyard, hopscotch, or outdoor games like tag, Frisbee or soccer. You can also plan family dance parties where everyone exercises to their favorite music.
By infusing fun into exercise, children will look forward to these activities and view them as enjoyable experiences rather than obligations.
Care Across Long Island
Tip 3: Explore outside
A walk, run or bicycle ride around your neighborhood is a convenient and easy way to incorporate daily exercise into your routine.
You can also explore new and exciting places across Long Island’s scenic trails, nature reserves and local landmarks that offer captivating sights and experiences to keep children engaged and curious.
Tip 4: Set goals and track progress
Setting achievable goals helps children stay motivated about exercise. Encourage them to set personal milestones, such as completing a certain distance or improving their running time. You can celebrate with small rewards or praise, highlighting their dedication and hard work.
Create a chart with stickers to track their progress visually, allowing them to witness their achievements firsthand. Use fitness apps or smartwatches that provide friendly competition through workout challenges.
Tip 5: Join community events
Participating in community events is a winning combination of getting children excited about exercise and teaching them about charity. You can find events throughout the year on Long Island—from “fun walks” to themed runs geared toward families.
The festive atmosphere, cheering crowds and the sense of accomplishment from crossing the finish line can ignite a passion for exercise and foster a healthy competitive spirit.
Tip 6: Create a supportive environment
Encourage a supportive environment where children feel safe to express themselves and explore their physical capabilities. Avoid focusing solely on performance. Emphasize the enjoyment of movement and the overall health benefits. Cheer each other on for a sense of camaraderie and teamwork.
Join Catholic Health at the Suffolk County Marathon and Empire State Ride
The Empire State Ride will be held on July 22. Children who are ages one and up can participate with parental supervision.
The 2023 Suffolk County Marathon will be held on October 21-22. Includes races suitable for children who are ages one and up.
Call 866-MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362) to find a Catholic Health physician near you.