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Rewarding exercise behaviors

We recently got a treadmill in our home. I used to run in the mornings before my family was awake, but it became a constant battle against weather and darkness and I almost got run down by a deer. (Yes, really.) I lost my motivation.

We got the treadmill and on the very first day my son wanted to use it. Since we have a rule that he can use it as long as he is supervised, we let him on it. There is a video integrated with the treadmill, so he ended up taking a walk through Reykjavik, Iceland, and he stayed on for the full tour. Afterward my husband and I made sure to give him lots of praise for sticking with the walk, which had several incline changes.

Later that night, my husband and I had a revelation that the treadmill would benefit our family in more ways than we originally thought: It’s important for our son to see us exercise. By modeling this good behavior for him, we can help him develop an exercise habit as well.

Granted, he usually gets lots of exercise at school, but since I have read that most teens aren’t getting their recommended dose of daily exercise, I don’t think it will hurt for us to encourage him more often. And – actually – it won’t hurt for all of us to encourage each other. Maybe this way we will all stay motivated.

And, I won’t have to be on the lookout for deer.

How do you encourage your children to exercise? Tell me in the comments.

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