Fitness should be timeless, and a lifelong commitment. However, fitness should also be fun. As a mother of a toddler and now a newborn, I love to watch the little ones' attitudes toward fitness. It is just part of play, and an innate part of each day.
There is no second thought, but most likely a motivating thought like, “I have to run as fast as I can, so I can get that ball over there!” Wouldn’t it be great if we could spend each day like that and expend all of that energy, aka calories?
If you have a young child who is less active getting them involved in a baby or toddler fitness class is a great way to get them started. There are many venues which encourage kids to do the things that they are excited to do at this stage of development.
They learn to roll over, to sit up by themselves, to crawl, to walk, and to climb. Fun games and interaction with other kids and mom will encourage them to not only develop these skills, but to also develop a healthy attitude toward exercise.
For many school-age kids, exercise means playing and being physically active. Kids exercise when they have gym class at school, soccer practice, or dance class. They're also exercising when they're at recess, riding bikes, or playing tag and at the playground.
The Mayo Clinic also suggests getting creative. “If your child is artistically inclined, take a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks for use in a collage. If your child likes to climb, head for the nearest jungle gym. If your child likes to read, walk or bike to a local library for a book. Or simply turn on your child's favorite music and dance in the living room.”
As children move into adolescence, it is especially important to keep encouraging them in their sport or activity because it is during this time that teens drop out of organized sports. According to an article on Kidshealth.org, “It's recommended that teens get at least 1 hour of physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.”
Parents should home in on their child’s interests and encourage them to participate in a sport or movement activity such as cheer or dance, in-line skating, horseback riding, etc.