In a world full of smartphones, tablets, and TVs, kids are spending more time sitting in front of screens than outside playing. In fact, research shows that children play outside for an average of just over four hours every week, compared to the 8.2 hours their parents spent outside weekly as kids. So how can parents get their kids to be more physically active? Well, we’ve compiled a list of a few simple ideas to get the whole family up and moving.
Go for Daily Walks
Physical activity doesn’t have to mean going to the gym and lifting weights. A great way to be more active as a family is to go for a walk every day. More and more families are looking to move to more walkable neighborhoods, with 52% of home buyers saying finding the right property in a good area is the most difficult part of the home-buying process. So if you’ve lucked out and live in a good neighborhood, why not take a walk around the block before dinner? Or if you have a dog, make walking the dog an activity for the whole family. When you make going on a walk part of your daily routine, it’ll be easier to get some exercise in. If you have younger kids that need to be kept entertained, consider playing games like a scavenger hunt along your walk.
Make Chores Active
Chores have to get done around the house, so you might as well include the whole family. And better yet, you can make chore time a time to be physically active. There are some household chores, like mowing the lawn and washing the car, that already require quite a bit of physical activity. But for other chores, like laundry and doing the dishes, it can be tempting to stand or sit in one place. Fortunately, with a little bit of creativity, you can make these active chores as well. Try coming up with little games that can be played during chore time — like tossing clothes into the hamper from across the room or doing jumping jacks between loading and unloading the dishwasher. Physical activity can be incorporated into almost anything, so make chore time an active time for the whole family.
Give the Right Gifts
When your child has a birthday or it’s a holiday, they’re sure to want the latest tech gadgets as a present. But instead of giving gifts that encourage them to sit around all day, consider giving them something that promotes physical activity. For older kids, roller blades or a new bike can be great. This is especially true seeing as how the British Medical Association shows that when people cycle 20 miles a week, coronary heart disease can be reduced by 50%. Biking as a family can be an awesome activity to pick up. And for little ones, toys that get them up and moving, like balls or even active-play video games can help keep them active. By surrounding your whole family with objects that encourage physical activity, it’s more likely that you’ll want to be active.
Getting physical activity doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t have to work out constantly. But incorporating these ideas into your family’s lives can help you be a bit more active every day.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.