Let's Get Moving!
Getting the whole family moving for better health
The World Health Organization and the American Heart Association recommend for kids to be active 60 minutes per day, seven days a week in order to lower the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. This also offers many other benefits, including doing better in school and having fewer behavioral issues. Sixty minutes a day may seem like a lot. How do you get your kids to be active when they don’t want to exercise or they just want to play video games?
To start, the 60 minutes can be broken down into smaller parts throughout the day. Studies show that when children feel supported by their family to exercise or are surrounded by people who are active, they are more likely to get moving. This doesn’t mean your entire family has to join a gym. There are plenty of ways to get your body moving for free without ever feeling like you are exercising. What is the key to getting active? Simple: Find something you like to do and do it! And don’t forget, play is exercise.
Here are some tips to get started:
- Get the whole family involved. Exercising together is more motivating than doing it alone.
- Still can’t get them away from their screens? Use being active as a way to “earn” screen time. For every minute they play outside or are moving around, they can have that much time for playing on their devices. You may find they are having so much fun that they forget about coming back to their phones or tablets.
- Have friendly competitions within the family for who was the most active or had the most steps. Keep an exercise log or sticker chart, or wear an activity tracker to track how many steps you take each day. Rewards and competitions can be very motivating!
- Set aside time each day to be active; make it part of your family’s “to do list.”
- Make it fun! For example, you can play Frisbee or tag, take a walk in the park, go on a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood, build an obstacle course or walk your dog. You can even put on some music and have your own dance party. The important thing is to get your heart rate up!
Some more suggestions of activities you can do together:
- Ride bikes
- Go on a hike
- Play with a beach ball (how long can you keep it in the air?)
- Have a water balloon fight
- Find a playground
If your kids must play video games, try “exergaming”—active video games for consoles such as the Wii, Xbox One Kinect, Playstation Move or the Xbox 360 Kinect that focus on getting you moving.
Once you get started, the benefits will be worth it. By modeling good behavior, your kids will follow your lead and your whole family will feel stronger, sleep better, have more energy, feel less stressed and overall be happier. You will feel so good, who knows what you can accomplish!