Rising obesity rates among children remain stagnant, which is prompting parents to encourage increased activity in their kids. In fact, the National Institutes of Health recommends that children get at least a total of 60 minutes of exercise per day. One of the most effective ways to keep your kids active is by exercising with them. Staying active as a family not only helps to encourage regular cardiovascular work, but it is also emotionally beneficial. Embarking on ways to stay active with your kids will help everyone reach their activity goals for a better, healthier lifestyle.
One of the most effective ways to stay active with your kids is by coming up with family exercises. If your children play any sports, offer to help them practice with direct involvement. Otherwise, you might show them how to play new activities or you can all learn a new sport together. Examples include:
- Playing baseball, football or soccer in your yard or nearby park
- Learning a new dance
- Field hockey
- Bike riding
When playing sports in the driveway or around the house, be sure to teach your kids safety rules. If a ball gets loose in the road, for example, no one should run after it without looking for traffic. Better yet, have an adult retrieve the ball.
Given the electronic era, it’s no surprise that many children prefer video games over traditional activities. While this type of stimulation is a contributing factor to high obesity rates, it can be a difficult habit to break. Instead of cutting out video games cold turkey, try incorporating group games into the mix. There are a wide variety of choices to get everyone moving, from sports, circus games and dancing routines.
You and your kids can also take group walks after school and after meals. Walking helps re-energize everyone after a long day while relieving stress and aiding in digestion. This also gives you an opportunity to talk with your kids and learn about the environment around you.
Involvement with Chores
In a typical daily schedule, you may have little time to work let alone engage in lengthy group exercises. The key to staying active as a family doesn’t necessarily involve playing sports. In fact, some of the daily tasks you need to get done burn calories just as well as taking walks. You can get your kids involved with the chores as an additional way to stay active. (Plus, this will help you tackle that ever-growing to-do list).
The types of chores you assign your kids will certainly vary by age. Many children can complete the following chores to some degree:
- Putting toys away
- Dusting (hold off on this chore for children with allergies)
- Sweeping or vacuuming
- Wiping the dinner table
- Doing dishes
- Walking the dog
- Feeding pets
- Help with washing car
- Raking leaves and other simple yard tasks
It is challenging to for some parents to motivate their kids to stay active together. This is especially true of older children, who may abstain from family activities for self-preservation’s sake. You may find that these types of kids are more open to group activities on a larger scale. Try to:
- Go to the park where other families are staying active
- Participate in local tournaments
- Play sports with neighbors with mixed teams
The next time you have a neighborhood get-together, make sure you involve other kids, too. Try centering the fun on an activity as a way of having fun while burning more calories. Pool parties, for example, are appreciated by party-goers of all ages.
The attention spans of young children are best kept when activities are mixed up. Consider aiming for activities ten minutes long, several times, throughout the day. This will help keep your kids entertained without getting burned out.
As a parent, it’s easy to get so caught up in your own kids’ lives that you neglect your own healthy lifestyle habits. However, when it comes to increased activity in children, it is important you don’t forget to set the example. Children are more likely to take up regular exercise on their own later in life if they see their parents work out regularly.
Starting an individual exercise routine can be challenging, especially with younger children. Not only do you have time constrictions, but you may also contend with guilt. Taking even 30 minutes out of your day to work out will improve your health and energy, while setting a good example. Starting your plan can be difficult, but you will soon learn it is worth every minute.
Starting a group activity plan is just one part of the challenge. The next challenge is to adopt these ideas as habits into your daily lifestyle. It can take several days or even weeks to make regular activity an important part of your day. To prevent boredom, consider trying something new for your family every week.