5 Ways to Get Your Family Moving

5 Ways to Get Your Family Moving

Keep your family active and fit with some very moving inspiration.

By Wendy Robinson

My son started first grade at a new school this year, and as I was reviewing the weekly schedule for his class, I was shocked to see that he only has gym twice a week and gets a mere 15 minutes of “structured play” (formerly known as “recess”) each day. Given that most experts recommend that children get at least 60 minutes of active play a day, it is clear that I can’t expect him to get all his activity at school.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, child obesity is, pardon the pun, a growing problem. Almost 20 percent of kids are obese, and more than 30 percent of adults are as well. And a major cause seems to be a decrease in our overall level of activity.

One of the best ways to make sure that your children are getting enough activity in their day is to make it a family affair. Activity time as a family is a great way to be together and make sure that everyone is developing healthy habits. Here are five things to keep in mind as you think about increasing your family’s activity level:

1. Make it fun! According to Stephen Virgilio, PhD, author of Active Start for Healthy Kids, physical activity should take place in a “relaxed, safe, and supportive environment.” Things like long walks with stops to look at interesting bugs or a hike on a new trail can be a great place to start.

2. Make it a routine. Having a standard pre- or post-dinner walk or Saturday trip to the soccer park can help your child develop a sense of fitness as a part of daily life.

3. Let your child lead. Ask your kids what kinds of things they would like to do as a family. You’ll get some variety in your exercise life and might discover that you love the rock climbing gym or the indoor trampoline place.


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4. Get a membership. I love our community gym because we can do family activities together, from swimming in the indoor pool and walking the track to taking a “Mommy and Me” tumbling class (I can still do a somersault, who knew?!). Look for community centers or gyms in your area that are family friendly, especially before winter makes outside play more challenging.

5. When in doubt, dance. You don’t have to get in all 60 minutes of activity at one time, so you can always add a little movement by flipping on an irresistibly upbeat song and turning your kitchen into a dance club!

We spent two hours at the park today, playing soccer and digging in the sandbox, so I can tell you one of the biggest advantages behind family exercise: family naps!

What are your best tips to stay active as a family?

Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom, and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at www.athleticmonkey.wordpress.com.

Image ©iStock.com/bowdenimages

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