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Getting families back into fitness

  • Published
  • By Kayce Beatty
  • Health and Wellness Center
Warmer weather is just around the corner, which means now is a great opportunity to begin to incorporate or re-incorporate physical activity back into your family schedules.

As adults, we constantly hear about the importance of getting approximately 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Yet it is equally important, and perhaps even more important, to ensure that our children are maintaining their critical levels of activity each day.

Did you know that children and adolescents should get up to 60 minutes of physical activity each day? To create healthy habits and patterns for our kids, it is important to let them know how much we enjoy exercising! When kids see their parents and role models involved in physical activity, this encourages them to engage in physical activities also.

There are so many benefits to incorporating physical activity into you and your family's daily routine. Physical activity helps kids and adolescents keep body weight down, engage their brain, and refine their motor skills. Moreover, physical activity increases endorphins, which just makes you feel better and boosts happiness.

How do we find time to incorporate physical activity into our busy family lives? First, it is important to schedule physical activities whenever possible. Sign the family up for a fitness event and train together. Purchase a membership at a local gym and make an effort to go as a family two nights each week. Develop a routine of going for a family walk after dinner two or three nights each week. Also, it is important to plan fun weekend activities that also involve physical activity. Going to the zoo, picking fruit at a local establishment, or going on a hike are all family friendly activities that involve exercise.

It is also critical to be open to spontaneity as a means to physical activity. How about a game of basketball in the driveway to determine who does the dishes? What about a Wii tennis tournament to decide who cleans the kitchen?

Don't forget to always be on the lookout in newspapers and online for seasonal activities that involve physical activity. These are just a few thoughts on how to incorporate physical activity into a busy family life. Hopefully these few ideas help get you started!