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Kids fitness: The power of positive thinking

Kristina Marquez, BSN, MPH has been in the fitness and medical field for over 12 years and is an outdoor and endurance enthusiast residing in Buffalo, New York.

Be a positive influence

Kids are naturally active and want to expend energy. You can help foster a lifestyle of fitness and happiness to last their lifetime, because you have the power to instill a positive attitude toward activities and sports, which is the key to athletic success. The goal is to make fitness a fun habit full of enjoyment and stimulation. A positive attitude is essential to creating a successful and happy athlete.

Mom and tween daughter running track

Foster a healthy competitive attitude in your children

Tour de You

You don't want your child to be a bully nor do you want her to dread team sports. Athletics has a lot to offer kids, both physically and mentally. The key is to lay the foundation for them to have a good attitude.

Dr. K.C. Wilder, Ph.D. in sports psychology and author of Tour de You, shares important tips for positivity and fostering a healthy competitive attitude to be successful.

  • Teach sportsmanship, self-respect and resilience.
  • A positive attitude encourages enjoying the process of competition, not just winning.
  • Be a supportive parent, not the self-appointed coach.
  • Be a role model on how to accept success and setbacks.

Keep your kids excited about exercise

With many children forgoing fitness for the video game controller, it's your job to make staying fit fun. Younger children need exposure to physical activities to instill an active, healthy lifestyle. As important as boosting their health, children develop social skills, coordination, and creativity through playing sports and physical activity.

4 ways to ignite the love of fitness in your kids

1

Find and support your child's sports interests

Take your child to local sporting events and share your interests. Children will show natural preferences for sports, so expose them to what you've enjoyed and support their interests.

2Create a balance between fun and competitiveness

Sports should be a part of fitness and happiness, but not the only part. Integrate activities that focus on the fun and not the win. Allow time for an "off-season" to develop social and family connections.

3Practice what you preach

Teenagers are happy, successful athletes because they saw their parents enjoying activities. Children develop self-esteem from activities and learn how to be resilient through physical activity.

4Get "disorganized"

Recreational activities such as indoor rock-climbing, surfing or swimming in a safe, local pool or lake (with a lifeguard present) give the same health benefits as organized teams. Free play develops creativity, imagination and teambuilding.

More on kids fitness

Fun ways to keep your kids fit
Should you encourage a fitness conditioning program for your teen?
Best exercise games for kids

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