Fitness for Your Family Gets Both Kids and Parents Moving

Health Minute

Do you ever struggle to get your kids to put down the electronics? To get your spouse off the couch? To find time in the day to get in a workout for yourself?

If so, you’re not alone. Many families struggle with finding ways to get kids to want to be physically active instead of zoned out in front of a screen. Many also struggle with Mom and Dad finding time to put physical activity as a priority over work, chores and other responsibilities.

Why not try being physically active as a family? It is a great, fun way to get everyone up and moving while you’re spending some quality family time together.

Whether it’s a planned activity or simply making a challenge out of taking more steps today than you each did yesterday, make physical activity a family affair, according to LetsMove.govOff Site Icon, a site promoting the Let’s Move initiative launched by the U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama. The initiative aims to eliminate obesity issues so that future generations will grow up healthier.

It is recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and kids need at least 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity daily, according to the site.

Keep in mind the activity doesn’t have to happen all at once. A ten minute game of tag. An impromptu five minute dance party. A 15 minute Hula Hoop competition in the play room. All the activity adds up.

A few activities your family could consider doing to get moving together, according to the site, include:

  • Take a family walk around the block together after a meal
  • Make a new house rule – no sitting during TV commercials. Instead dance, do jumping jacks, do sit ups or run in place
  • Plan a family day at a park, to the pool or for a hike
  • Rake up then jump in piles of leaves
  • Build a snowman
  • Jump in or over rain puddles
  • Have a dance party to your kids’ favorite music
  • Have a clean the house day – involve the whole family in chores, cleaning, vacuuming and yard work
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot and have each family member count how many steps it takes to the door then back to the car
  • Choose a half-hour walk/nature hunt instead of a half-hour TV show
  • Make a Saturday morning walk around the neighborhood a family habit
  • If the weather is bad, head to your local mall and take a couple laps around the inside. You might even be able to join your local Mall Walkers club

Kids learn habits from watching what the adults in their life do. By choosing healthy behaviors and making physical activity a priority, you are teaching your kids healthy habits they will hopefully continue for their lifetime, according to the site.

Find more ideas about how to make fitness a focus for your whole family, talk with your physician or find a physician.