With obesity on the rise, it’s more important than ever to encourage healthy habits at a young age. One way parents can help their kids is by making family time active.
The American Heart Association recommends children participate in an hour of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity every day. Kids who meet this goal will find it easier to maintain a healthy weight, which will help lower their risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke as adults. Being active also produces benefits such as improved sleep, more energy, lower stress levels and a sharper memory.
It’s up to parents to set a good example. Modeling healthy behavior can help positively influence your child’s lifestyle choices. It’s also a great way to bond with your kids – especially as they get older and spend less time with you.
Here are six ideas to get your family moving.
- Schedule family playtime – Play tag, toss a ball, jump rope or dance to music. Pick fun activities that encourage movement.
- Bike to the nearest playground – And while you’re there, do simple bodyweight exercises, such as squats, lunges and pushups.
- Workout together – Some gyms have special classes or times when kids are allowed to join their parents for a workout. If that’s not an option, have them join you when you run or bike outside.
- Focus family gatherings around fitness – Celebrate special occasions with a healthy activity such as a nature hike or playing Frisbee, softball or soccer in the park.
- Do chores – Raking leaves, gardening, shoveling snow and other home-maintenance projects get you moving as a family.
- Train for a charity run or walk – Working toward a 5k race is a fun goal for parents and kids alike. Some races also include a kids run for the little ones.