Staying active together: How to get the whole family moving
Busy family schedules can make it hard to spend a long amount of time on exercise each day. But staying active doesn’t have to be just another thing to fit into your schedule. Many family activities get everyone moving while you’re having fun or accomplishing a task.
From kids to grandparents, family activities are a great way to add in small periods of exercise throughout your week. Here are some of the ways you can get active together—and why it’s so important for your entire family’s well-being.
How much exercise should my family get?
In general, the CDC recommends adults aim for a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. Kids and teens should get 60 minutes every day.
While that may seem like a lot, your exercise can be broken into many smaller periods of time. In fact, Move Your Way says even 5 minutes of physical activity can have benefits for your health.
The health benefits of staying active
From physical to emotional health, staying active has positive effects for both adults and children. The U.S. Library of Medicine says regular physical activity helps:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce the risk of many conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
- Improve your sleep
- Prevent falls in senior adults
- Strengthen your muscles and bones
- Improve your mental well-being and mood
- Keep your mind sharp as you age
Tips to add more activity into your family’s routine
Traditional exercises like running, bicycling, or playing a sport are all good ways to be active. However, there are many other ways you can add physical activity into your daily routine. Some ideas for families include:
- Invest in active toys – Kids are more likely to be active when they have toys nearby that encourage movement. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests toys like balls, jump ropes, or other outdoor games.
- Take a family walk – Consider adding a family walk into your weekly routine. It’s a simple activity that everyone from young children to senior adults can enjoy.
- Dig in the dirt – Gardening is another great activity that can get the whole family moving. Plus, it has other benefits for your overall well-being.
- Try a community event – Check out local event calendars to find free fitness events offered in your community. Many families also enjoy participating in a local 5K or training for a family-friendly charity run.
- Find a playgroup – The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says parents can encourage active play by joining a local playgroup. Often, these groups provide a built-in time for activity on your calendar.
- Choose active indoor games – Even when you can’t be outside, you can pick active games indoors. The National Institute on Aging says games like hide and seek are fun ways to get kids moving with their grandparents.
- Explore a new location – Sometimes, it can help to go somewhere outside of your normal routine. Find a new park, hiking trail, or interactive indoor space to explore as a family.
- Get competitive – When your family is working on being more active, a little competition can help. Challenge each other to set goals, track your progress, and celebrate when you reach them.
In addition to these ideas, there are many more ways to add activity into your family’s daily life. Most importantly, find something that sounds interesting to both you and your kids and give it a try. Your family is more likely to stay active and involved when you choose activities that everyone enjoys.