Kids' Fitness for the Reluctant Child

6 ways to get kids moving when they think they don't want to

girl playing table tennis
Geri Lavrov / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images

With less time and space for safe outdoor activities and more electronics competing for your child's attention, it's easy for physical play to fall by the wayside. But in today's sedentary culture, encouraging kids' fitness is more important than ever. Try this advice to help even the most reluctant child increase active play time.

First Steps to Kids' Fitness

Remember that fitness and physical play are part of a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel good.

Try not to send the message that exercise is an unpleasant chore. These dos and don'ts for fun fitness will help you set a positive tone; these ten tips show you how to make any kind of exercise more fun, and these questions will help you pin down the real reason your child says he "doesn't like sports."

Be a Fitness Role Model

The number-one way to prompt your reluctant child to be more active is to be more active yourself. Take up a new sport, resume a walking or running habit, or resurrect that gym membership you've been ignoring.

Set Fitness Goals that Motivate

Many kids are motivated by rewards. Work together to come up with a set of goals for each member of the family, then plan some fun (non-food!) prizes, such as active toys you can all enjoy.

Boost Kids' Self-Esteem

If your child is overweight, fitness is more important than ever--but also tougher to encourage. Try this advice to help your child feel more confident about himself and his body.

Find Activities Kids Love

Maybe your child doesn't enjoy active play because she hasn't yet found the right sport or exercise for her. Check out profiles of youth sports to get a feel for some popular favorites (and some more unusual picks), and don't forget to take advantage of seasonal fun, as well as activities that draw on your child's other interests.

Fight the Excuses

Bad weather or a lack of gear needn't prevent your child from getting his daily dose of active play.

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