The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. For children, the 60 minutes of activity can be done throughout the day, and some of that time may come from moderate physical activity offered in schools and classrooms through physical education classes. Adults should do a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
As part of the Together Counts™ program for healthy, active living, we believe that you can get more physical activity and exercise if you make it a family project. Encourage everyone to think of fun activities that get you up and moving, off the couch and away from the TV. Choose a different activity each day or each week to try. A few suggestions are below, and you can also check out our 40 Tips for an Active Family for more inspiration.
Walk Whenever Possible
- Walk instead of drive, whenever you can
- Walk your children to school
- Take a family walk after dinner
- Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV
- Park farther from the store and walk
- Make a Saturday morning walk a family habit
- Walk briskly in the mall
- Take the dog on longer walks more often
Around Your Home
- Garden, or make home repairs
- Do yard work. Get your children to help rake, weed, or plant flowers
- Work around the house, and have children help with chores
- Wash the car by hand
- Do sit-ups or push-ups in front of the TV–have a competition with your kids during commercials.
- Join an exercise group, and enroll your children in community sports or lessons
- Pace the sidelines at kids’ athletic games or practices
- Dance to music… with your kids
- Swim with your kids
- Help your kids practice sport skills
- Buy a set of hand weights and play a round of Simon Says with your kids—you do it with the weights, they do it without
- Train together for a charity walk or run or bike ride
- Help neighbors in need with yard chores, errands, collect recycles, have a food drive
Encourage every member of your family to increase daily physical activity. Think of ways to have fun and be physically active at the same time.
Activity Points – Keep a family activity calendar where amounts and kinds of activity are recorded for each family member and award points. Celebrate milestones for point totals with a favorite family activity or outing. Use this sample physical activity tracker to record activities and minutes each week.
By: Rob Bisceglie, CEO, Action for Healthy Kids.
Action for Healthy Kids® is a nationwide grassroots network that supports school-based foods, nutrition education, physical education and physical activity that lead to lifelong healthy habits and academic success. With resources, funding opportunities, expert technical assistance, and our flagship program, Game On, we provide full support to schools, administrators and parents to develop healthy school environments for children. To learn more about the ways our 100,000+ volunteer network is helping to make Every Kid Healthy™, visit us at www.ActionforHealthyKids.org, on Facebook and on Twitter.
For more fun ways to get healthy and active together check out these other articles from Together Counts!