Kids and fitness: tips for reaching exercise goals

Children play at the SSM Health St. Mary's Children's Experience at Capital Mall. (KRCG)

April is exercise month, and doctors say children need at least 60 minutes of daily exercise.

But an hour of anything can seem like forever for children. That's why Dr. Curtis Dyer said he suggests breaking up kid's daily exercise requirement into smaller portions. "That makes it a little easier and a little less daunting," he said. “If anything goes on too long, even if it’s fun, they’ll get tired of it.”

His first tip to make sure your kids get sufficient exercise: get out and about.

"Tell them, hey, it's outside time. No TVs, no screens, it's nice outside, we're going to go outside and play," he said.

Dr. Dyer said even playing outside for only 15 or 20 minutes shouldn’t be seen as a failure. He suggested trying to get some exercise indoors as well.

"I do some core type activities in my living room, and my seven-year-old comes in and mimics what I'm doing,” he said. “That’s an example of a little five or ten minutes thing you can do every day where they're moving inside as well as outside."

Dr. Dyer said making sure children reach that daily exercise goal of one hour is a full family endeavor -- it all starts with Mom and Dad.

"You've got to make it fun for them, you've got to promote it, and as parents, I think you've got to model it."

Whether it’s at a playground, on the way to school, or in an organized sport, Dr. Dyer said you can set your kids up for lifelong success by giving them opportunities throughout each day to get up and moving.

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