Physical activity is important for children and adults of all ages. Being active as a family can benefit everyone. Adults need 2½ hours a week of physical activity, and children need 60 minutes a day. Follow these tips to add more activity to your family’s busy schedule.
Determine time slots throughout the week when the whole family is available. Devote a few of these times to physical activity. Try doing something active after dinner or begin the weekend with a Saturday morning walk.
Write your activity plans on a family calendar. Let the kids help in planning the activities. Allow them to check it off after completing each activity.
Involve the kids in yard work and other active chores around the house. Have them help you with raking, weeding, planting, or vacuuming.
Plan activities that require little or no equipment or facilities. Examples include walking, jogging, jumping rope, playing tag, and dancing. Find out what programs your community recreation center offers for free or minimal charge.
Enroll the kids in classes they might enjoy such as gymnastics, dance, or tennis. Help them practice. This will keep things fun and interesting, and introduce new skills!
Choose some activities that do not depend on the weather conditions. Try mall walking, indoor swimming, or active video games. Enjoy outdoor activities as a bonus whenever the weather is nice.
Set a rule that no one can spend longer than 2 hours per day playing video games, watching TV, and using the computer (except for school work). Instead of a TV show, play an active family game, dance to favorite music, or go for a walk.
Begin by introducing one new family activity and add more when you feel everyone is ready. Take the dog for a longer walk, play another ball game, or go to an additional exercise class.
Invite others to join your family activities. This is a great way for you and your kids to spend time with friends while being physically active. Plan parties with active games such as bowling or an obstacle course, sign up for family programs at the YMCA, or join a recreational club.
When it is time to celebrate as a family, do some- thing active as a reward. Plan a trip to the zoo, park, or lake to treat the family.
Being physically active is one of the most important steps to being healthy. Families play an essential role in helping children learn to be active and stay active throughout their lives.
Engaging in physical activity as a family can be a fun way to get everyone moving.
Everyone in the family can benefit from being physically active. Physical activity:
You can help guide your children’s participation in physical activities – how much, how often and what type of physical activity they do. You also can help them balance nonactive time periods (watching television, using the computer or talking on the phone) with physical activity.
The keys to getting the entire family up and moving are to choose activities you and your family like and start by doing what you can. Do 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Every bit adds up, and the health benefits increase as you spend more time being active.
Here are a few activities you and your family can do to get started on a path to a healthier lifestyle:
You are your children’s most important role model. Lead an active lifestyle yourself. Your children pay attention to what you do more than what you say.