Fun ways to introduce children to exercise

With the ongoing concern about childhood obesity rates, making sure children get enough exercise is vital for their health. According to the NHS, those aged 5-18 years old need to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day to help them maintain a basic level of health. While this activity can be broken up during the day, in total children and young people need to remain active to ensure they get the minimum amount of exercise they require.

The best way of encouraging children to get the amount of exercise they need is by making it fun. If children and young people find exercising fun they are more likely to want to do it than if they feel like it is something they are being forced to do by adults.

These tips provide ways to introduce children and young people to exercise and make it fun:


The best way to introduce young children to exercise is through play. Combining exercise with playtime will encourage children to be active without them realising that they are exercising, while also introducing them to the concept of being active. The easiest way to combine play with exercise is to install playground equipment that captures young children’s imaginations and makes being active fun and feel like playtime.

Team sports

For older children team sports is a fun way to introduce them to exercise. Sports such as football, rugby and netball are not only great forms of exercise but also fun to play. These types of team sports are also a great way of making exercise social and children will be keen to play sports as they will be playing with their friends. There are lots of team sport clubs that hold games in the evening or at weekends. These clubs offer out of school opportunities for children to exercise, coaches that will supervise children, plus offer a safe and friendly environment for children to exercise.

Fashionable fitness clothes

One of the most difficult group of young people to convince to exercise are teenage girls. Often self-conscious about their image, teenage girls’ health can suffer through their reluctance to exercise, so they are a key target group to encourage. One way to help encourage teenage girls to exercise is to buy them fashionable gym-style clothing. These replicate the gym clothes they see celebrities wear, boost their confidence, make them feel grown up,  and help encourage them to exercise. As well as this, consider encouraging teenage girls who are reluctant to exercise to be active in more trendy ways – such as taking dance classes or practising yoga.

Trying new sports

If a child is really struggling to get involved in playground games or afterschool team sports, trying different types of exercise and sports in a comfortable environment will help to get them active. Family bike rides, for example, are an ideal way of getting children and young people active but in a way where they feel comfortable and not self-conscious. Also trying out a wide variety of sports, from gymnastics to rowing, will help to show children and young people that there are many different and fun ways to be active.