Family Fitness

Get up and get moving!

We take for granted that kids are active, but today's lifestyles might not provide children with adequate physical activity that their growing bodies need. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children participate in moderately strenuous activity for at least 30 minutes a day, so why not get up and get moving together as a family? Ministry Health Care has suggestions and resources on fun ways to incorporate fitness into your family's lifestyle.

 

Resources

“75 Days of Fun” family activity checklist

Classic outdoor games and jump rope rhymes

Road and water safety tips


Biking trails:

Hiking trails:

 

Encourage Lifetime Activities

Deciding to be an active family takes some deliberate actions. Parents and grandparents must choose to incorporate physical activity into their family lifestyle early in childhood. As children get older, their participation in physical activity declines. Although team and individual sports are beneficial for a variety of reasons, it is important to encourage lifetime activities such as walking, dancing, and bicycling. These activities can be enjoyed later in life and may be more acceptable to children who lack the motor skills to excel at sports.

 

Create New Memories with Your Family

With young children and grandchildren, encourage active play both indoors and outdoors. Turn daily chores into an adventure. Playing music and dancing while you vacuum, pushing a wheelbarrow filled with weeds and making a “race” to carry the groceries encourage activity as an integral part of daily living. When you model these healthy practices, your children will adopt the same habits. Outside games like croquet, badminton, bocce ball, volleyball, kickball, whiffleball, softball or just playing catch or tossing a frisbee back and forth can get you up and moving and be rewarding in more ways than one. As children age, provide activities with greater challenge. Hiking in local nature areas can be a great start. Start with timed hikes, then gradually increase the duration and adjust the intensity by changing terrain or speed. Brisk walking will elevate the heart rate and provide a great cardio respiratory workout.

 

Turn Off the Television

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of television per day as excessive TV viewing can contribute to childhood obesity. If you are concerned about the amount of time your children watch television, try the following formula for limiting their TV time. Tell your children that time for watching TV must be earned.

Here are a couple of sample rules you could establish:

1 hour of reading or studying = 1/2 hour TV
1 hour of active play = 1/2 hour TV

You may want to keep a tally sheet for each child, but be careful not to make other activities appear to be punishment. Instead, explain that there are a lot of fun things to do besides watching television that you would like them to enjoy.

 

Talking With Your Health Care Provider

Before your youngster moves from a sedentary to a more active way of life, and particularly if he or she has any health problems, talk to your health care provider. He or she will be able to tell you how to ensure that exercising is a safe and enjoyable experience for your child.

 

Click here to find a health care provider near you.

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