30 Ways to Motivate Non-Athletically Inclined Kids to Exercise and Why You Should

Encouraging exercise in non-athletically inclined kids can be a challenge, but there are many ways to make physical activity enjoyable and accessible.

30 Ideas to Help Motivate and Engage Non-Athletically Inclined Kids in Exercise:
  1. Lead by example: Be an active role model and participate in regular physical activity yourself.
  2. Make it fun: Incorporate games, challenges, and playful activities to make exercise enjoyable.
  3. Keep it age-appropriate: Choose activities that are suitable for your child’s age and skill level.
  4. Create a routine: Establish a consistent schedule for physical activity to develop a habit.
  5. Break it up: Encourage short bursts of exercise throughout the day instead of one long session.
  6. Choose their interests: Let children participate in activities they enjoy, such as dancing, martial arts, swimming, or biking.
  7. Involve friends: Encourage group activities and invite friends to join in the fun.
  8. Set goals: Help children set achievable goals, whether it’s increasing the number of jumping jacks or running for a longer distance.
  9. Track progress: Keep a record of their physical activity and celebrate milestones along the way.
  10. Offer rewards: Provide incentives like stickers, small prizes, or extra screen time for completing exercise sessions.
  11. Play active video games: Choose games that require physical movement, such as dance or sports games.
  12. Use pedometers or fitness trackers: Let children monitor their steps or activity levels to make it more engaging.
  13. Explore nature: Go for hikes, nature walks, or explore local parks to combine exercise with outdoor exploration.
  14. Make household chores active: Turn cleaning into a physical activity by dancing while vacuuming or racing to pick up toys.
  15. Incorporate active transportation: Encourage walking or biking to school or nearby places instead of driving.
  16. Family fitness time: Plan regular family activities like hiking, biking, or playing sports together.

    non-athletically inclined kids
    Source: Pixabay
  17. Support team sports: Enroll children in community sports leagues where they can learn new skills and make friends.
  18. Introduce martial arts: Martial arts classes can be a great way to build strength, discipline, and confidence.
  19. Offer choices: Allow children to choose between different activities to find something they genuinely enjoy.
  20. Host a backyard Olympics: Organize fun mini-Olympic games with various physical challenges.
  21. Dance parties: Have spontaneous dance parties at home where everyone can groove to their favorite tunes.
  22. Active breaks: Encourage short exercise breaks during homework or screen time to refresh their minds.
  23. Explore water activities: Swimming, water aerobics, or playing in the pool can be a refreshing and enjoyable form of exercise. (Read our blog about swimming safety and children here.)
  24. Yoga for kids: Introduce child-friendly yoga poses and breathing exercises to promote flexibility and relaxation.
  25. Create obstacle courses: Set up obstacle courses in the backyard or living room to encourage physical activity and problem-solving skills.
  26. Join a community program: Check if there are local community programs or classes specifically designed for non-athletic children.
  27. Make it social: Organize playdates or group activities that involve physical movement and interaction.
  28. Set up a home gym: Create a small exercise area at home with jump ropes, resistance bands, and other age-appropriate exercise equipment.
  29. Offer variety: Rotate between different activities to keep it interesting and prevent boredom.
  30. Celebrate achievements: Praise your child’s effort, improvement, and dedication to their physical activity endeavors.

    non-athletically inclined kids
    Source: Pixabay

Remember to be patient, supportive, and focus on the enjoyment of physical activity rather than performance. With time and consistent effort, your non-athletically inclined kids can develop a lifelong love for exercise.

And why should you encourage your non-athletically inclined kids (or any children) to exercise? Regular exercise offers numerous health benefits for children (and for people of all ages).

13 Exercise Benefits for Non-Athletically Inclined Kids and All Kids
  1. Physical fitness: Exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, builds strong muscles and bones, and enhances overall physical strength and endurance, says the Centers for Disease Control.
  2. Weight management: Regular physical activity helps children maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of obesity, which is associated with various health issues, according to Nemours KidsHealth.
  3. Bone health: Weight-bearing exercises, such as running or jumping, promote bone density and strength, reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
  4. Motor skills development: Physical activity enhances gross motor skills, coordination, balance, and fine motor skills, contributing to better physical control and proficiency in activities of daily living.

    non-athletically inclined kids
    Source: Pixabay
  5. Mental and emotional well-being: Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. Exercise also helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, boosts self-esteem, and promotes overall mental well-being.
  6. Cognitive development: According to the American Psychology Association, research suggests that regular exercise can enhance cognitive function, attention span, memory, and academic performance in children.
  7. Improved sleep: Physical activity promotes better quality sleep, which is essential for growth, development, and overall health.
  8. Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Regular exercise in childhood can lower the risk of developing chronic conditions later in life, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
  9. Social skills and teamwork: Participating in group activities, team sports, or exercise classes fosters social interaction, cooperation, teamwork, and the development of valuable social skills.
  10. Discipline and goal-setting: Engaging in regular exercise teaches children discipline, goal-setting, and perseverance as they work towards achieving personal fitness goals.
  11. Improved concentration: Physical activity has been shown to enhance concentration and focus, leading to better academic performance and cognitive abilities.
  12. Reduced stress: Exercise helps children manage stress by providing an outlet for energy, reducing tension, and promoting relaxation.
  13. Healthy habits for life: Encouraging exercise in childhood promotes the establishment of healthy habits that can be carried into adulthood, leading to a healthier lifestyle overall.

It is important to note that children should engage in age-appropriate and safe activities under adult supervision. Consulting with a healthcare professional or pediatrician can provide additional guidance tailored to the specific needs and abilities of the child.

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