Helping Kids Get – and Stay – Active

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Did you know that kids school-aged and older should get 60 minutes of activity most days of the week? I know, that sounds like a great idea, but how do you make a nice—and very healthy—idea become a reality? Here are some tips to help your kids (and even yourself) get—and stay—active:

  • Be an “active” example. Let the kids see you making exercise a part of your life.
  • Let them choose what activities they’d like to do, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy them!
  • Exercise as a family: “The family that plays together, stays together.”
  • Schedule activity into every day. Break up exercise periods into smaller increments and always be flexible. The goal is to make daily activity a life-long habit.
  • Do the kids show interest in your favorite activities? Adjust them to their skill and attention levels. Yes, you might not get in a “perfect” workout, but the long-term payouts are so worth it!
  • Be active with the kids. Do what they like to do: Jump Rope, Hopscotch, tag, etc. Have them teach you new skills.
  • Walk more.
  • Help your kids set fitness goals. Maybe they’d like to complete a marathon or bike 500 miles, one mile at a time. Maybe they’d like to master new swim strokes, or learn to fence. And maybe they’d even like to take up karate or Hip Hop.
  • Include their friends. Anything is more fun with friends!
  • Use exercise as a reward for completing not-so-fun activities like homework and chores.
  • Have some basics on hand to make exercising more convenient: Balls, jump ropes, bikes, Frisbees, Sidewalk Chalk (for hopscotch and four square), etc.
  • Limit screen time. At our house, if the kids want to play video games, they need to play (be active) for 60 minutes. THEN they can play their favorite games.
  • Choose active—versus couch potato—video games. And join in on the fun!

And last, but not least, be patient and offer lots of positive feedback and encouragement. It might take some trial and error for the kids to find activities they love, but once they do, they’ll want to stay active. For life!

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4 Comments

  1. Dee Westmoreland - July 15, 2014

    HELP!!! WE ARE DESPERATE & VERY MUCH WORRIED!!! We have a daughter who just turned 22 yesterday (July 14th). She also has Asperger Syndrome (Autism) & 5′ tall..weighs 260 lbs. She doesn’t want to listen to Mom or Dad about exercising..eating better..etc. She does better listening to others. SO PLEASE COME HELP HER OUT!!! I cry..beat myself up, knowing her life could be shortened & my most difficult worry is HER!! What will happen to HER, if something happens to me. PLEASE- PLEASE-PLEASE HELP!!!!
    Sincerely,
    A VERY WORRIED MOM!!!

    • Team Powell - July 16, 2014

      Hi Dee: We’re so sorry to hear about your daughter, and we can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you. Hopefully these tools will help you help her get started on a healthy journey. As you know, any change has to come from within her; however, one thing you might try, and this is the first step Chris and Heidi take with every single client they work with, is to have her make and keep small daily promises to herself. This promise doesn’t even have to be health related – the important thing is to build her confidence and personal integrity. Read about the process here: http://chrispowell.com/choose-a-promise/. When she’s ready to start her own transformation, have her check out Heidi and Chris’ carb cycling program in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” It’s a complete mind, body, and food program, and it’s the same one they use on the show and with every client they work with. It works! Learn about the nutrition basics here: http://heidipowell.net/2713/carb-cycling-101/. We truly wish you both the best!

  2. Christine - May 9, 2014

    Thanks for posting this. My husband and and I were just discussing how to get our 12 and 16 yr old more physically active. Great ideas!

  3. Brenda Brandt - May 9, 2014

    Hi Heidi and Chris,
    My daughters and I love you and your family!
    Have you ever thought about having a family on your makeover show?
    If so, we would love to be your first!

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