Setting Fitness Goals
Are you looking for a way to get your child motivated when it comes to exercise? It's difficult to keep track of your child's physical activity—or lack of it—as he gets older. One of the health content standards for middle school students is to make a personal plan to improve each child's nutrition and incorporate physical activity into his daily routine. This activity helps your child set and maintain his health goals! You'll both be surprised at the difference that setting and sticking to an exercise routine can make to his overall well-being.
What You Need:
- Lined paper
- Calendar template
- Pen or pencil
What You Do:
- Have your child write down his average Monday through Sunday schedule on a sheet of lined paper. Try to make it as detailed as possible. Start with the time he wakes up in the morning, until the time he goes to bed at night. For example, 7:00 a.m. - wake up, 7:20 a.m. - Take a shower, 7:45 a.m. - Eat breakfast, etc.
- Next, take another sheet of lined paper and encourage him to come up with activities he enjoys doing that are of a moderate activity level. These activities may also include chores that are already part of his schedule. For example, washing a car, shoveling snow, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, etc. Some other examples are brisk walking, jogging, jumping rope, bike riding, etc.
- Then, help your child incorporate the list of activities into his daily routine. For example, instead of getting a ride to school at 8:15 a.m., he could leave earlier and ride his bike to school on Mondays. Or, instead of watching television for one hour, he could watch television for a half an hour and then briskly walk around the block for a half an hour on Tuesdays. If your child presently has very little activity in his schedule, start with having him try to incorporate at least 10 minutes of physical activity a day, to make it an attainable goal. If your child is already quite active, encourage him to incorporate about 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity per day into his schedule.
- Next, print out the calendar template and fill out the month, days, and dates in the empty boxes. If you are beginning mid-month you may want to print out another calendar template.
- Then, have him fill in the calendar with the type and length of physical activity per day for two weeks.
- After a two week period, encourage him to analyze his progress. Did he meet his physical activity goals? How does he feel physically? Is he able to add an activity or increase the length of his activities? Or, does he need to slow down and take a step back?
- Then, fill in the rest of the month based on his responses.
- Finally, have your child continue to set physical activity goals and analyze his progress. This will encourage him to maintain a healthy lifestyle that will continue through adulthood!