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Making Family Time Active

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Making Family Time Active

Try these new solutions to get active and move more with your family in fun ways that everyone will enjoy!

Does it feel like everyone in your family is always on the go and running off to different activities and events? Are you concerned about your weight, and perhaps even your children’s weight?

If so, you’re not alone! Families today are busier than ever before, with kids participating in a variety of extracurriculars and parents spending long hours at work on top of shuffling kids between activities. At the same time, our weight can keep creeping up, while our energy levels may be trending down. Even when life gets busy, it’s important to fit in that physical activity. Being active has TONS of health benefits. These include feeling more energized, improving quality of sleep and mood, boosting heart health, helping to maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, keeping your brain sharp and bones strong, and decreasing risk of developing some types of cancer.(1)

How much activity should you aim for?

Adults should aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days or 150 minutes total each week. Or if you want to up the intensity, you can target 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise (ie. running). Adults should also include strength training exercises twice a week.(2)

For children and teens, it is recommended to get in at least 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each day, with strength training, vigorous activity, and bone strengthening activities incorporated three days per week.(3)

How can you add movement into family time?

Now that you know why exercise is so important and how much your family should aim for, here are some tips and tricks to help you fit that activity time into your everyday life. One helpful strategy for busy families is to combine family time with active time. Once you get started, you may discover tons of fun new ways to get moving together! Here are some ideas to get you going.

Make the most of practice time.

While one child has baseball practice, everyone else can go for a walk around the fields. Or, bring along a Frisbee, jump rope, or kickball along and have everyone participate.

Get moving during TV time!

When TV commercials come on, take an exercise break. Take turns choosing an exercise and have everyone participate. Think sit-ups, push-ups, toe touches, jumping jacks – the sky is the limit!

Play an active video game together using a Wii Fit.

This is an excellent option on winter days when outside activities are not so inviting.

Introduce your favorite games from your childhood to your kids.

Do you remember the games you played outside as a child, such as hide-and-go-seek, kick the can, whiffle ball, hopscotch or tag? Even if you play for only 10 minutes, every little bit adds up. Plus, you’ll be making new memories together!

Sign the family up for an exercise program.

This should be one that the whole family can participate in, such as karate, taekwondo, or other martial arts programs.

Throw a dance party!

Let everyone in your family pick their favorite songs and see who has the most creative dance moves.

Go for a walk around the block after dinner.

Take different routes throughout the week to discover new details about your neighborhood. You can invite your neighbors to join in, too!

Park strategically.

When going to the store, park further from the entrance, and opt for stairs over the elevator or escalator.

Get out your bikes.

If it’s safe and not too far, bike with your kids to school, or ride your bike to work. Remember to always wear helmets and use bright lights if you’re riding at night.

Clean the house together.

Not only will your home get clean, but cleaning and organizing will also get your family moving!

References

  1. Benefits of Exercise. https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html. Accessed November 13, 2018.
  2. WHO | Physical Activity and Adults. WHO. 2015. http://www.portal.pmnch.org/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/en/. Accessed November 13, 2018.
  3. How Much Exercise Do I Need? https://medlineplus.gov/howmuchexercisedoineed.html. Accessed November 13, 2018.

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About the Author
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Lynn is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Corporate Wellcoach and RRCA certified running coach. Over the 25 years of her career she has moved from a medical model to a coaching approach, where she recognizes that you’re the expert on your life and her role is to encourage, prod, and support you to reach your goals.

Website: https://lynngrieger.com/


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