Why you may struggle to get your kid to exercise

I’ve written in the past about the relationship between exercise and academic performance in children.

The science is clear: children who are physically more active get better grades at school, are more sociable, and tend to have an advantage when transitioning into adulthood.

However, some parents struggle to get their kids to be physically active, especially teenage kids.

I never really looked into what the reasons may be, until now:

I just came across this new study that looked at the relationship between the physical activity of adolescent kids and that of their parents. The study covered 1231 kids aged 14-17, 1202 mothers, and 871 fathers.

The results were very interesting:

Kids whose parents were both physically active in the past and present were SIX TIMES more likely to be physically active compared to kids with no parents who were physically active.

(i) both current and previous parental physical activity were associated with adolescents’ physical activity levels;

(ii) adolescents whose parents had practiced sports in both childhood and adolescence were more likely to be physically active; and

(iii) the prevalence of active adolescents was greater when both parents were currently active and/or active in the past.”

This means that:

1. If you were physically active as a child, your own child is much more likely to also be active.

2. If you are currently physically active, your child is much more likely to also be active.

3. If both parents are physically active, your child’s level of activity goes even higher.

So even if you were not very physically active as a child, you should try to be as active as possible if you want your children to escape the tidal wave of child inactivity.

Your kids will follow your example, it is really that simple!

And to those parents I always see competing in races along with their children: I salute you.