Sometimes it can be tough for parents to motivate kids to exercise. But with approximately 23% of American children overweight and about 18% obese, it’s becoming more and more important everyday that children get the exercise they need. Kids can be hesitant about traditional exercise routines that to them may seem boring or just too hard.

Motivate your kids to exercise using these 4 creative ideas and share some of your own!


Teach them a sport they enjoy

Your child may not be into soccer, or maybe you don’t want him or her to play football. Just because they aren’t in to the big “traditional” sports that many kids play doesn’t mean you can’t get them excited about something else. Think outside the box! Take your child to your gym after school and teach them racquetball. If the rules are too complex, invent some new rules that get your kid running from wall to wall. They won’t even realize they’re exercising, and you’ll enjoy a little more peace and quiet when they’re so tired that they fall asleep at 7 p.m.!

Eroll them in gymnastics

There may not be a better way to disguise true exercise than enrolling your children in a gymnastics class. You can most likely find gymnastic classes for children all over your city for a variety of different skills and ages. Your kids will love it!

Whether they’re running and leaping into a giant foam pit or doing all kinds of crazy stretching, your kids will get home from gymnastics class and won’t want to wait to get back. Even better, enroll them in a class with a friend! Then, you and a friend can go grab a coffee for an hour while you wait for class to finish. That is a serious win-win situation. 

Take them to a lake

This one is great on all fronts! Take your kids to the lake and rent a few kayaks. You and your kids will be getting a great upper body workout while enjoying a beautiful setting. It’s much better than running on a treadmill in a sweaty gym. Better yet, challenge your children to a quick race from shore to shore. Let them win, and they may even want to race you back! You could also probably find tandem kayaks for rent, so you guys can share the boat. Paddleboats also are a good lower body workout, so mix it up week to week to keep you and your kids in great shape. 

Go on a weekly bike ride

Make one day a week a “biking day” for you and your kids. Find a new road or trail each week, and vow to never miss a single day. Biking is an incredible workout for people of all ages, and it’s a known fact that kids love to bike! Try increasing the distance of the ride by a half-mile or 10 minutes each week. Your kids probably won’t notice, and you may even surprise yourself with how far you can ride. Just make sure everybody in your family is wearing a helmet. 

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Your Fitness University
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Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist
Certified Nutrition Coach and Nutrition for Metabolic Health Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes that helps you to achieve better long-term health, which includes body transformation and ideal body weight.
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