Kid Health: How To Get Your Child To Exercise.

Ideas on how to trick your kids into healthy exercise activities.

All of us have known since grade school that it is important to exercise to stay healthy. The population of overweight people is steadily increasing and the epidemic is now spilling over to our young children. When parents are overweight they will usually have overweight children and children who are overweight are prime candidates for developing health problems. Since children follow our example we might have to start setting better ones and get out and exercise with them.

When you tell an adult they need to exercise you will probably be met with groans and excuses. Children are even better at groaning and making excuses than adults and it may take some creative tricks to get them to do the exercise they need to stay fit. The best way to get children to do something they don't want to do is to make it fun. If you follow these suggestions your child may not even realize he is exercising!

One of the best ways to get your child moving is through organized sports. Football, baseball, soccer, hockey and basketball are all sports that get kids running and working their muscles. Kids may have so much fun playing these sports with their friends that they won't think of it as exercise. Some kids may balk at the idea of joining an organized sport but if they know someone who is involved in it they will be more inclined to give it a try.

Hiking is a great way to get kids to exercise. Climbing up steep trails through the mountains or just going for long walks through the forest will get kids moving. Find creeks to skip rocks in and let them climb the trees. When your child is outdoors with no toys or other distractions he will find activities to do with his body. Organize scavenger hunts that will send your kids rummaging through the woods for hours. Be sure to provide lots of water and a healthy snack so they don't get run down or dehydrated.

Swimming is excellent exercise that most kids can't get enough of. Most communities have a public pool or a pool in a school that is open to the public on certain nights. Bring your child to the pool at least once a week and let him swim to his heart's content. Swimming works the legs, arms, and cardiovascular system and it's lots of fun too. If your child doesn't know how to swim get in the water and teach him!

Bike riding is a great exercise that the entire family can do together. Biking works the legs, upper body and cardiovascular system and it gets kid outside into the world to see new things. Plan family bike trips through scenic country routes or your local bike paths. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day exploring. Some families like to park a car at a distant location to use to bring the family and their bikes back to the starting point.

Though your child may complain about a set of jumping jacks and a two-mile jog, he will love your carefully disguised exercise activities. Be sure to do things together and be as encouraging as possible. You might be surprised when the entire family is in better physical shape and has spent quality time together as an added bonus.

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