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)
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)
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.
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.
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!
This is an excellent option on winter days when outside activities are not so inviting.
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!
This should be one that the whole family can participate in, such as karate, taekwondo, or other martial arts programs.
Let everyone in your family pick their favorite songs and see who has the most creative dance moves.
Take different routes throughout the week to discover new details about your neighborhood. You can invite your neighbors to join in, too!
When going to the store, park further from the entrance, and opt for stairs over the elevator or escalator.
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.
Not only will your home get clean, but cleaning and organizing will also get your family moving!
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