Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Fun Ideas for Family Fitness with Your Kids

Published: 9:22 am CDT, April 26, 2013

Exercise is very important for your family.  There are many benefits to fitness.

  • have stronger muscles and bones
  • have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat
  • be less likely to become overweight
  • decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • possibly lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
  • have a better outlook on life

One of the most important things to remember is inactive children will most likely grow up to be inactive adults.  Starting a family fitness program can go a long way in fostering healthy habits for life.

Our jobs as parents are to help them see that exercise can be fun.  Make exercise feel like play and watch as the entire family begins to enjoy it.  Here are five ideas to get you and your kids moving.

  1. Schedule time to play.  Set aside 30 minutes three times a week to do some type of fun exercise with your kids.  It can be an after-school or since  it’s staying light longer now, an after-dinner routine.  For younger kids a game of hopscotch or hide-and-seek would be fun.  For older kids, a little soccer or basketball. Want to get kids moving?  Plan time for physical activities.
  2. Walk or bicycle whenever you can.  Go for a 30-minute family walk after dinner instead of heading right for the television.  Track your steps.  Make a family exercise log poster and post it on your refrigerator.  Plan a party for milestones reached.
  3. Plan active family gatherings.  At your child’s birthday party plan activities like tag, relay races or dance party for older kids.  Zumba’s fun too. Pool parties, ice skating or rock climbing can be pretty cool.
  4. Make cleaning fun.  Household chores and be fun and done together as a family.  Crank up the volume and play music while you clean!  Put together a fun playlist and go to town.
  5. Make yard work fun.  Seasonal yard work can actually be fun.  Plant and tend to a small garden, rake leaves in a pile and then jump in them.  Shovel snow and make snowmen or snow forts.

Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are often better able to handle physical and emotional challenges.  Overall it’s just a win-win situation!  So let’s get moving.

 

Karen Wiggins, LPN, HWC

 

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