Tips for motivating children to exercise more while self-quarantining

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If your kids are spending lots of time indoors due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there are a few ways you can motivate them to get more exercise.

Wilmington resident Gerrit Bult has been a personal trainer for over 20 years with a focus on athletic conditioning, powerlifting, weight loss and adult/children small group training. In addition, he was a nationally-ranked powerlifter competing in over 30 powerlifting contest. He also hosts ‘The Bult For Life Podcast.’

Due to the COVID-19, children aren’t in school right now where a physical education teacher can motivate them to exercise, but Bult says parents can do a number of things to encourage their kids to be more active each day.

“I would say make a plan, it does not have to be written in stone but a good guide,” Bult said. “Ideally, kids need about an hour of intermediate to vigorous activity daily.”

With many children likely spending more time on gaming or other electronic devices, finding balance between online versus exercise time can pose a challenge for some parents.

“Alternating between device time and other activities such as exercise and chores is a good way to manage time,” Bult said. “Using a timer on a phone, stove or microwave is a great way to stay on point with the schedule.”

Bult offers six tips to encourage and motivate children to get more exercise:

  • Help kids write out their own daily schedule and hang it on the refrigerator. This gives them a sense of control over their day.
  • Involve kids in healthy meal preparations.
  • Assign chores for kids to complete.
  • Plan games for them to play outside and be a participant when possible.
  • Exercise at least once or more a day about one hour (depending on the child).
  • Implement these things into your own daily life and be the example.

Ultimately, Bult says it’s important for parents to encourage their children to maintain discipline with their exercise routine.

“Creating healthy habits for kids can be fun,” he said. “No one knows our kids better than us.”

Starting where your child is and making small changes will develop discipline and healthy habits that will last a lifetime but Bult cautions against bribing them.

“Try to avoid using food or money as reward or incentive,” he said. “Ideally, we want the sense of accomplishment from the action to be the reward that builds a lifetime of healthy living.”

Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover, Pender

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