6 Fun Tips to Get Your Kids Off the Couch | Exercise.com

6 Fun Tips to Get Your Kids Off the Couch

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • When children say they’re bored is a good time to make some changes
  • Be vigilant in preventing extended periods of couch potato inactivity
  • Make sure your child becomes active for at least one hour per day

There is a big divide between children sitting on the couch feeling unhealthy and kids involved in the vibrant world of activity and fitness. The interesting thing is that once kids get active, they become motivated to find new ways to continue the process.

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Signs Your Child Isn’t Active Enough

One tell-tale sign your child is in need of more fitness is obvious weight gain. Pay attention to your child’s weight and body shape. Are you seeing the signs in their face and around their midsection?

Your child may be on the way to becoming a couch potato if they complain about being bored often. Their boredom means they don’t know what to do with themselves. These feelings often result in sitting in front of the TV or resorting to video games.

The time of year is a factor to consider as well. When your child is home from school on spring break, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, there’s a tendency to relax on the couch.

The “couch potato” danger lurks especially during the long summer break from school. It’s vital that you have strategies in place to keep your child active during these times of the year.

The American Journal of Public Health published a study in 2007 that revealed that over 5,000 kindergartners and first graders saw their body mass indexes (BMI) almost double when they came home from school on their summer breaks.

We must not take this lightly. An increase in BMI and overall weight gain leads to health issues not only now, but also later on when your child becomes an adult.

Dangers Your Child Faces as a Couch Potato

Research reveals that your child may be in grave health danger if living a sedentary lifestyle.

Men who reported watching television for two or more hours per day doubled their chance of a cardiac issue. This study didn’t include other sedentary activities like playing video games.

Sitting for six hours each day can cause developmental issues related to insulin resistance, weight gain, and high cholesterol. Your child is also placed at risk for type-2 diabetes when living life as a couch potato.

Turning the Couch Potato Epidemic Around

One way experts recommend reversing sedentary lifestyle dangers is to make sure your child becomes active for at least one hour per day.

Did you know your child will burn 60 calories more per hour simply standing versus sitting? Getting them actually active results in an even bigger overall benefit.

6 Tips to Get Your Child Active

#1 – Make it a Reward

When your child wants something special, consider making its attainment attached to an activity, such as going for a bike ride or swim.

#2 – Create TV Rules

Limit television time to one to two hours per day. Keep track and make sure you’re firm on sticking with the rule.

#3 – Exercise While Watching TV

Simply getting your children doing jumping jacks during commercials goes a long way in keeping them fit and healthy. Make it a game. Ask them, “How many can we count before our show comes back on?”

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#4 – Exercise With Them

Why not do the above jumping jacks exercise with your child? Or, start making changes in your family’s routine. Help them get started on the road to fitness by going out for family walks right after dinner. Put up a basketball hoop and go shoot hoops together after school.

#5 – Get the Equipment Ready

Your child can’t do physical activities at home if the equipment isn’t there. Get a football, basketball, and soccer ball. Put jump ropes or hula hoops in the garage so everything is easily accessible for your child.

#6 – Do Chores

Have some chores that need to get done? Get your child involved raking those leaves, cleaning the garage, or shoveling that snow!

Branching Out From Home

Make it a point to get your child involved with local or school activities that lead to more physical exertion.

During the summer, encourage your child to go to the local swimming pool for lessons and water fun. Swimming, by the way, is one of those activities that helps activate many muscle groups all at once.

Find out what types of local community activities are available. Something as simple as getting your child out to the closest park does wonders.

Encourage your child to try out for the seasonal sports at school like football, basketball, soccer, track, and any other sport offered. Doing so will instill an appreciation for physical activity and discipline as well.

There’s no need for your child to suffer from the health problems that come from living a sedentary lifestyle. Be vigilant in preventing extended periods of couch potato inactivity. Not only will your child benefit long-term but you will, too, if you include yourself in some of the solutions listed above.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many days a week should my family exercise?

Three to five workouts a week is recommended for best results.

How do I create a fun workout plan for my family?

You can either sign up for an Exercise.com PRO membership or enlist the help of a personal trainer!

Can children weightlift?

Weightlifting can be safe for children if the weights are light enough. 

We can help with ideas for healthy eating and fun exercises for your family. Go PRO today, and get an expert in your corner!

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