We Gmap Pedometer users are a sporty bunch, running, bicycling and triathloning our way through life. We know the importance of exercising – and what’s more, we love it.
But sometimes our kids aren’t so down with it.
I bet that bothers you. Here we are, busting our booties to try to stay in shape, and our kids are sitting there on the couch watching TV. Or texting.
Should we make them exercise?
The CDC says that every day, kids should exercise at least an hour. AN HOUR.
That’s even more than what’s recommended for adults, which is 150 minutes per week, plus muscle strengthening twice a week. (See the chart to the right.)
So what’s to make a kid get off their duff?
We trick them.
And here’s how.
A rewards chart uses small prizes to give kids a little shove towards better behavior – brushing their teeth, for example. When tooth-brushing becomes automatic, you no longer have to reward them, and you can work on other behavior you’d like to reinforce.
One sly trick: Tie screen time to the amount of time exercised.
No, no, we’re not saying you should beat your children. Allow them to beat on YOU.
If you’re up for it, and your kids are small enough, let your kids wrestle you. Have them try to hold you down to the floor as you try to get up. Smack each other with pillows. Let them hang from your outstretched arms. A study showed that fathers roughhousing with children is crucial to their development, and another expert said roughhousing with moms benefits kids, too.
Most kids love trying to wrestle their parents into submission. Or fake-punch them or fake-drown them.
Seems counterintuitive, right? But there’s tons of games that let kids get their sweat on. One study looked at active video games like Wii Sports bowling, Just Dance, Wii Fit, Kinect Sports and Dance Dance Revolution. They concluded they are a good alternative to sitting around.
AND their health benefits are comparable to “field-based physical activity.”
That’s doing activity in a field. We think.