Fitness For Dummies
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Upping your child's physical activity helps develop coordination and self-confidence. Diet and exercise habits that start now are more likely to follow your child into adulthood. Get the whole family involved in physical activity.

Some activities may be difficult if your child is larger. Their size may make movement difficult, which, in turn can make them feel embarrassed, despite your best efforts. One of the reasons many adults don’t like to exercise is because as children they were made to work out as a form of discipline. But you can keep exercise fun. Studies show that the exercise habits made in youth are the habits you’re most likely to keep as you become an adult. Try some of these ideas.

  • Take walks together after dinner.

  • Plan nature walks, hikes, and canoe trips for the whole family.

  • Encourage your child to join school or community athletic programs — but only if they enjoy the activity. If it’s not fun, the child won’t do it, and it won’t engender lifelong habits. Volunteer to coach or, at the very least, go to games and practice sessions.

  • Take up sports that the whole family can do, such as inline skating, cross-country or downhill skiing, and backpacking.

  • Measure your steps on a fitness app or smart fitness device. It’s a tangible way to promote and encourage physical activity.

  • Get a rope and start jumping. Stage a family tournament.

  • Encourage children to ride bikes and swim at an early age, and show them how. Dust off your bike, too; put on your suit and get into the pool with your kids.

  • Turn off the TV. Better yet, unplug it. And limit phone and video game time.

  • Ask your child what they liked best about doing a favorite activity. You may be surprised to find out that you’re the draw. Exercise can provide a focused opportunity for conversation between the two of you.

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