Exercising with kids can be a challenge. They just don’t understand it, and they’re too excited about their new toy to care what you want them to do. And if they aren’t interested in the activity, then you’ve got an issue.

Kids are naturally curious creatures that enjoy exploring the world around them. As our culture has become more sedentary, children have been spending less time playing outside and learning how to interact and play with their environment. This makes exercise much harder for them, but not impossible. Here are some ways to get your child interested in exercise and make it fun for them.

Keep It Fun

Children will get bored with any type of exercise, so the best way to keep them engaged is by making it fun. If they feel like doing something that doesn’t involve physical activity, then they won’t try.

Here are some simple ideas that can help you get your kids involved in exercise, even when they don’t want to be.

Get creative.

Instead of exercising on the same old treadmill or elliptical machine, try getting out into the yard or going for a walk. If your child enjoys being outdoors, then this is a great option. You can also go swimming, biking, roller blading, skating, or rock climbing as long as there is enough room to safely accommodate all ages.

Make it interactive.

If your kid likes to play games, get him or her involved in a game that involves moving. Games like dodgeball, tag, and soccer work well because they require movement and allow for different levels of difficulty, which keeps kids occupied, entertained, and challenged. When you’re working out together, you might also try dancing or singing songs to music.

Use technology.

Technology has come a long way since the days when we had to use a tape player and headphones with earmuffs to listen to music while jogging. Now, there are many apps that provide great fitness-related content. There are even some apps that track your progress and allow you to see exactly where you’re improving.

You can download all kinds of workouts, such as those designed specifically for toddlers, kids, teens, and adults. These workouts usually focus on core strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination, and muscle toning. Some apps also include games and challenges that are meant to increase motivation and help you stay focused.

You can also incorporate exercise into your daily routine by using these apps to count your steps or check your heart rate during your morning commute or after dinner. Just remember to keep the intensity low at first to prevent injuries.

Encourage them.

Sometimes, kids just need a little extra encouragement to get started. You can encourage them by praising their efforts and showing them how good they look doing something they love. Even though your kids may not always show it, they appreciate knowing that you think they’re doing a good job.

They also benefit from hearing you explain why the exercises they’re doing are important and will help them grow stronger and healthier over time. Kids also respond better to rewards than to punishments, so give them something small (like a sticker or a candy bar) for a job well done.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is key to success. It encourages kids to work hard, gives them something to strive for, and helps them avoid setting unrealistic expectations. Setting short-term goals also helps motivate them to continue working toward the larger goal of staying fit for life.

Start small.

It’s easy to set lofty goals for yourself, especially if you’ve never tried to lose weight or build muscle before. But starting off by setting smaller goals will put you on the right path and help you achieve your ultimate goal faster. For example, instead of aiming to lose ten pounds in one month, start by losing two pounds per week until you reach your goal.

This approach works because it allows you to slowly build up your confidence and momentum, which will help you reach your final destination.

Stay consistent.

To maintain consistency, you should schedule regular times for your workout every day. Keep in mind that scheduling workouts throughout the week will make it easier for your kids to participate. You could offer to take them along if you don’t have other commitments or plans that evening. Or, schedule separate dates each week so you can rotate through the family members who participate in the activity.

Remember, however, that consistency isn’t the only thing that matters. Try to mix up the types of activities you perform. Sometimes, kids get bored easily and prefer to stick to the same routine. To avoid this, try switching up your routine every few weeks or months to try something new.

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Stella Russell is a writer and editor. She holds a BA in Art History from Wellesley College and is certified as a personal trainer through the European Registry of Exercise Professionals .