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Tips for Keeping Children Active

mother and daughter exercising on yoga mat.

Making physical activity a part of your daily routine can provide many health benefits. Here are some tips to help keep your family moving even during your busiest days.

  • According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This should include a variety of cardiovascular, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities.
  • It is encouraged to be physically active outside when possible. A powerful example for your child is to be active yourself. Go for a family walk, a run or bike ride each day or enjoy spontaneous dance parties. Pick activities that your family enjoys and just move!
  • Reducing the amount of screen time each day will automatically make your children engage in more physical activity. You can also utilize active screen time as well. There are a ton of online physical activity resources that you can enjoy as a family.
  • Make it fun for everyone. Physical activity is a great way to improve your overall physical and mental health. Doing fun, engaging physical activities will help lower anxiety and stress levels.

Fun ways to get physical activity

  • Have a family dance party.
    • Every person picks one song and the family has to be active throughout the song.
    • Make up your own moves or teach your kids some oldies like the cha-cha slide, the hustle, or the Charleston. 
    • Have the kids teach the adults a dance move!
  • Take an activity break during commercials. 
    • You can do familiar exercises like push-ups (modify to wall push-ups or kneeling push-ups), squats, jumping jacks, and lunges, or create your own movements.
    • Add in your favorite yoga poses like tree pose and warrior pose or stretches like forward bends.
  • Make an active card deck.
    • Write a brief description and draw or print out a picture of the activity. You can purchase one online, or make your own using index cards. Throughout the day, select a card and do the activity.
  • Encourage kids to break up long periods of sitting (watching TV, playing video games, etc.) with movement.
    • Set a timer for every hour to stand up and move for at least two minutes.
  • Go on a walk after dinner. 
    • Just two to five minutes of walking after a meal can improve blood sugar levels.
  • Play indoor or outdoor follow-the-leader.
    • The only requirement is that everyone is moving. Take turns leading.
  • Do a family yoga practice.