Living a healthy life together. Happy family holding different sports equipment while standing close to each other in health club

Of all the gifts you could shower on your children, few can hold a candle to that of a healthy lifestyle. If you, as a parent, can help your child to build into their routine regular exercise, a healthy respect for food and regular periods of downtime and meditation, you will be setting them up for a successful future. Here are a half dozen ways to get your kids into fitness without acting like a drill sergeant.

Get Them in a Sports Team
Getting your child into a sports team early on can have a whole laundry list of benefits. They’ll develop the ability to share and interact with others. The habit of practicing to improve will be ingrained in them and they will be getting fitter by the day as they develop sports specific skills that improve their balance, and coordination.

Hike The Trail on a Mountain Bike
Cycle is a fantastic low impact for of cardio for kids. Combining it will the intrigue and excitement of taking to the forest will have your kids engrossed for hours without even realizing that they’re getting fit. Cycling is also a great bonding experience for the whole family.

Kid’s Boot Camp
Kid’s love to do ‘grown up’ workouts. You can devise a simple bootcamp style circuit that can be done around the home with hardly any equipment. Include old stand-bys such as push ups, the wall sit, plank, squats and lunges. Intersperse these anaerobic moves with cardio exercises like burpees, skipping and jumping jacks. Do it along with the kids so they can be motivated to beat you!

Get Gamefied
Gamefication is the new buzzword in home exercise. What started with the Wii has grown into a huge range of fun interactive ways to get your sweat on while plugged into your technology. Not surprisingly, the kids love it. One of the coolest apps out there is called Fitocracy – check it out with your kids today!

What about Weights?
There’s a raging debate about t what age kids should be introduced to weights, ranging from 6-7 right through to the end of puberty. As with most things, the sensible approach is somewhere in the middle.

You should start your child with bodyweight resistance exercises such as push ups and the wall sit from about the age of 10. Most kids should be ready for more challenging resistance after two years, at which time you can switch to resistance bands. At around age 13, you can start with light weight training, with a focus on perfecting form with high reps.

Getting your child into a regular resistance training lifestyle is one of the best things you will ever do. While they develop their body, they’ll be building such qualities as self esteem, self confidence, discipline and goal setting. These skills will benefit them in every area of their life.

Getting your child into a healthy fitness lifestyle will make it easier for him or her to negotiate the challenges of being a teenager. Studies have shown that kids who are regular exerciser are more likely to resist negative peer pressure, whether its to take drugs or to join a gang. They are also better prepared to enter the workforce having developed the life skills that employers are looking for.

You have the power to make a powerful difference to your child’s future – are you going to use it?

How do you share the gift of fitness with your family? Share your ideas with the community in the comments section.

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