As Adventurers we want our kids to be healthy and a big part of that is fitness. Fit kids are happy kids. And they are less likely to whine on a long hike, so that’s always a bonus. 🙂

So let’s look at some fun ways to sneak fitness into your kids’ lives.

1. Show Them That Fitness is Fun

Kids learn from your example, whether you want them to or not. If you are complaining about working out, telling them to eat their veggies while you scarf down some ice cream, or always sitting on the couch; your kids are going to get the message…the wrong message. So start making fitness fun for yourself first. Show your kids that you enjoy working out and getting out. Have fun making healthy food or delicious smoothies and let them have a taste. And as an Adventurer, or aspiring Adventurer, it’s your job to be adventurous. So get out of the house and get your body moving.

2. Invite Them

Now that you’re an example of a fit Adventurer, invite your kids along for the fun. Adventure Dad and I have done a lot of running over the years and it was so fun to get our kids involved. At first we signed them up for the kids races so they could see and participate in all of the excitement involved. Then we started signing them up for longer races (5Ks) and we would get to train for those races together. Some of my favorite times have been on those training runs one-on-one with my kids as we talk about anything and everything. And there’s nothing quite like seeing the pride on your kid’s face as they cross the finish line of a long race that they really trained hard for.

So invite them. Invite them to do workouts with you. Go on a run or bike ride together. Throw on those dusty rollerblades and skate around the block with your kids. Search for fun, healthy recipes and play some fun music as you dice up vegetables side-by-side. And, of course, invite them on fun adventures with you. Going on a family hike or backpacking trip is not only a blast, but it’s also a great way to sneak some fun fitness into your family’s life.

3. Find Fun Resources: Going Digital

People are constantly blaming TV and video games for keeping kids inside and turning them into couch potatoes. And that can be true, but there are also some amazing resources out there that can help your kids be more active. I use these types of things a lot during the winter to keep my kids up and moving when they don’t want to brave the cold.

  • Adventure to Fitness: This program is my favorite. They have fun, interactive videos where the kids are doing physical activity while learning about the world around them. It’s kind of like they put your kid in a video game. My kids get a great workout but hardly notice since they are having so much fun.
  • DanceX for Kids: This DVD is my youngest’s favorite so I had to put it on here. It’s a fun fitness video that takes kids through different dance moves while working up a sweat.
  • Gaming Systems (Xbox, Playstation, etc.): If you have a gaming system, then you should have some fitness-oriented games on them. We have a Zumba dance game that Adventure Girl loves and a few other games that get you moving. I remember as a kid playing an Olympics game on the Nintendo and we’d run in place on the roll-out mat that you had to use (you remember). We’d play for hours and I’d barely realize that I was out of breath and sweating. It was all about winning the race.

4. Play Outside

Just because there are digital fitness resources available doesn’t mean your kids should stay shut up inside all day. Force them to get out into the clean, fresh air. And make sure to get out there with them. Go on a walk, climb a tree, play frisbee, or shoot some hoops. It doesn’t really matter. Just get outside and get moving.

5. Turn Fitness Into a Game

In a famous Russian study from the 1950s, children were asked to stand still for as long as they could…they lasted two minutes. Then a second group of children were told to pretend they were soldiers on guard who had to stand still at their posts…they lasted 11 minutes! Kids don’t want to exercise just to exercise. They want to play and just happen to get exercise while doing it. Sports are great for this. So are outside schoolyard games like tag and steal the flag. Your kids can also play army boot camp or ninja training. Just be creative and let your kids play.

6. Brainwash

Here at Ignite Adventure we fully support brainwashing…of the good kind. Your kids are constantly being bombarded with brainwashing, through TV ads, Internet ads, radio ads, from their friends, etc. And most of these people don’t have your child’s best interest at heart, but you do. So start brainwashing your kid to think that fitness is fun and that cool people are fit. Point out people you see that are running or biking and just mention how awesome they are. Talk about fitness at the dinner table. Watch movies or TV shows that show fitness in a positive light. Listen to fitness-centered podcasts in the car with your kids. Surround your kids and yourself with messages about how awesome fitness is. You’ll be surprised how powerful it can be.

7. Go on Adventures

Of course, at Ignite Adventure I’m going to tell you to go on adventures and I’m going to tell you to take your kids along with you. Go on a hike, scale a summit, paddle down a river, rappel off a cliff, ride down a forrest trail, swim in the ocean or a pristine mountain lake, or backpack into the unknown. Your kids can do more than you think, especially if you’re there to help them, and you’ll all have a blast doing it.

As always, if you found this article beneficial or interesting, pass it on to your family and friends. Help us make The Family cool again.