How to Increase Your Family's Physical Fitness
Healthy ideas for kids and adults to get fit together.
By Lucy M. Casale, Contributing Writer
As a parent, you are the best role model for your child. Kids often mimic what they see. And they’re fast learners. If you are active, you’ll inspire your kids to do the same.
Kids who get regular physical activity have better cardiovascular fitness and stronger bones and muscles. They have less body fat. They may even have fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. Active kids are more likely to become healthy adults.
Studies show that kids who feel supported by their families to become active are more likely to get active.
Make time for activity.
- Kids should be active for 60 minutes or more each day of the week. Most of those 60 minutes should include moderate- or vigorous-intensity activities. Include vigorous-intensity activities at least three days a week.
- As part of that 60 or more minutes of daily activity, include activities to strengthen bones and muscles at least three days a week.
- Remember: Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, too.
Limit screen time.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you put a one- to two-hour limit each day on television, video games and computers (outside of school work).
- It also recommends keeping a television or devices connected to the Internet out of a child’s bedroom.
- It is also recommended that children less than 2 years of age have no screen time at all.
Introduce your kids to variety.
- Encourage them to try new activities. They could join a sports team or class.
- Show them activities they can do in any weather. Dancing, for example. Or mall walking.
- Help them find non-competitive activities. Try jump rope. Or tag. Or bike riding.
Make it a family affair
Get active with your kids!
- Sign family members up for low-cost recreation programs and sports leagues.
- Celebrate with activity. For birthdays and other special events, get active. Go hiking, have a dance contest or play volleyball.
- Keep a family activity log on the refrigerator. This can help inspire everyone to stay active.
- Give gifts that encourage activity. Give balls. Or jump ropes. Or kites.
- Skip driving. Bike or walk as a family, when possible.
- Play and exercise together as often as you can.
Before starting or increasing regular physical activity, talk with your doctor about the right levels for your family, especially if you or a child have any medical condition or are physically inactive.