We all know that physical activity and exercise are important for overall health. This is true for children and adults of all ages. Adults need 2 ½ hours of physical activity a week, and children need 60 minutes a day. If you have kids, you want to make sure they grow up fit and healthy. However, you also know that it’s challenging to juggle, work, family and physical activity, especially when many children are involved in activities of their own. Still, setting a good example is important. When parents are physically active, it increases the likelihood their kids will be active, as well. They also learn that being active is fun and it makes you feel good.
As a family, make a list of activities you’d like to do. Parents, remember that letting loose and playing is ok, and it’s fun! Consider these ideas to get everyone up and moving as a family:
- Go for a bike ride. Many towns are creating greenways or paths that are safe for biking and walking.
- Take a before or after dinner walk around the neighborhood.
- Have a weekly sports day. Mix it up from week-to-week, consider basketball, dodgeball, whiffle ball, volleyball, throwing a Frisbee or simply playing catch.
- Get involved in other family-friendly sports such as tennis, skating or swimming.
- Fly a kite.
- Use your kid’s sports practices as an opportunity for you to get some exercise, as well, by walking the perimeter of the field during their practice.
- Wash the cars.
- Do yardwork together, such as picking up sticks or raking leaves. Make it fun by turning the activity into a competition where the winner gets a prize.
- Turn commercial breaks into fitness breaks. Mute the TV and march in place or around the room, do sit-ups, push-ups or just play tag.
- Have a family dance night. Share dances from your generation and learn theirs. Or create your own dances.
- Have a hula hoop contest.
As you can see, there are virtually an unlimited number of activities that parents and children can do together. Being active as a family not only promotes good health, it can also bring families closer together. So, get up, turn off the TV, computer, tablet or phone and get moving as a family.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/get-active/activity-plan.htm
American College of Cardiology. https://www.cardiosmart.org/~/media/Documents/Fact%20Sheets/en/abk6082.ashx
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