When the whole
family is involved in physical activities together, children learn that being
active is fun and makes you feel good. And busy parents can combine family time
with exercise time.
Try these tips for getting everyone in the
family up and moving together:
As a family, make a list
of activities you'd like to do together.
Make sure the activities
are things everyone can do and enjoy.
a family physical activity log, or hang a calendar on
Try to plan one or two family activities a week. For ideas, see the suggestions
Once a month, plan something special
that involves being active, like a trip to the zoo, a day hike, or camping.
Use a safe backpack, stroller, or bike trailer so that smaller children can be included in family
schedules get really busy, going for a walk may be the easiest thing you can do
Start with short walks
that everyone in the family can do. Add more distance gradually. Younger
children can ride a bike or a tricycle. You can pull a wagon in case little
ones get tired.
Scavenger hunts can keep
children from being bored on a walk. Keep in mind a list of "treasures" they
can find, such as a red leaf, a blue house, a black dog, or an out-of-state
Get pedometers for everyone,
and work on increasing the number of steps you take on your family walks. Get
family members to wear the pedometers all day, and keep a log of everyone's
total steps. Start with a goal of 10,000 steps a day.
Register the whole family in a
family fun run/walk in your community. If the event is
for charity, have your family walk through your neighborhood to collect
Go for a bike ride.
Join your children in old-fashioned games like
hopscotch, tag, jump rope, and hide-and-seek.
Get involved in family-friendly sports like
skiing, skating, swimming, and tennis.
a daily family basketball game in the driveway or at a
Take up miniature golf or
Fly a kite.
Pick up trash at a local
Indoor and rainy-day activities
Have a family dance night. Share dances from each generation, and teach each other to do
them. Or learn folk dances.
Create a new dance or exercise routine to a favorite song. Have a different child
choose the song each week.
Go to the mall,
and count how many laps you can walk as a family.
hula hoop contest.
Set up a fun
obstacle course in the basement, garage, or spare room.
Set a limit on TV to 2 hours
or less each day.
Set limits on computer games and Internet use (homework doesn't count).
Don't use food as a reward for meeting
Make physical activity a priority. Don't let things get in the way of family activity
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