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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Fitting Exercise into Your Family’s Schedule

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Fitting Exercise into Your Family's Schedule

Get active with the whole family to stay healthy all year long! Here are some ways to get started at any time of the year!

Over the past twenty years, overweight amongst children and teens has doubled. Furthermore, overweight has been linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Children learn by modeling the behavior of their parents. By maintaining a physically active lifestyle with your family you can improve the health of your child while preventing him or her from developing a lifestyle of sedentary behavior.

Quick Tips to Get Started

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, adults (age 18 and over) should strive to achieve 30 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week and children should strive for 60 minutes of activity a day. The biggest problem facing families is how to fit this into their already full schedules. Try some of the exercise tips below to help your family reach their goal.

Options for Everyday

  • Get outdoors: take evening family walks
  • Walk or bike to school
  • Include running, jumping, hopping, and climbing
  • Walk the dog
  • Walk to the store
  • Park the car further away
  • Take stairs instead of the elevator
  • Play in the garden
  • If it’s too cold outside, try these 5 winter ways to get moving and check out these indoor exercises.

Options for On the Weekend

  • Hire a babysitter to spend time with your younger child while you exercise with the older child.
  • Take a family trip to the beach or park and spend the day actively playing.
  • Schedule a family outing that includes biking, walking, rollerblading, or hiking.

Things to Cut Down On

  • Watching TV
  • Playing Computer Games
  • Browsing the Internet
  • Sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time
  • Video Games
  • Watching DVDs and/or Movies. When watching TV fold laundry while standing or stretch instead of sitting.

All it takes is 30 days to make fitness a habit. So what are you waiting for? Learn how to set your health goals today!


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About the Author

Picture of Christina Johnston, MS, RD

Christina Johnston, MS, RD

Christina currently provides outpatient counseling to both adult and pediatric populations in Virginia. Christina is also the lead nutrition educator for 7-3-3-1 Healthy Families Having Fun, a family-based lifestyle intervention program. Christina holds a co-chair position for both the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria Healthy Lifestyles Workgroup and the Northern District Virginia Dietetic Association State Legislation. Christina’s passion lies in providing nutrition education to underserved populations and in working towards policy change to support the role of the dietitian in promoting health.

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