Active Families Have More Fun!

Did you know?

Staying active over time will give you more energy and focus, reduce stress, and helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and osteoporosis (weak bones).

When adults think about exercise we imagine going to the gym or playing a sport. But being physically active can be anything from playing on a baseball or basketball team to taking the stairs instead of the elevator or playing at recess. Whenever you move your muscles, breath heavier and feel your heart beat faster you are engaging in physical activity. It's important to be physically active every day to stay healthy.

Kids should get at least 1 hour or more of physical activity every day. This can be done all at once, like playing in a soccer match, or be spread out in periods of 10-15 minutes such as taking the dog for the walk, raking leaves, and playing on the jungle gym.

Physical activity can be moderate or vigorous. Kids should do vigorous activities at least 3 times each week (Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans). What's the difference between moderate activity and vigorous activity?

Here are some examples:

What is moderate activity?

What is vigorous activity?

Games and sports that are similar to fast walking:

  • hopscotch
  • playground play
  • bike riding
  • walking to school
  • kickball
  • 4 square
  • Frisbee™
  • skateboarding or rollerblading

Games and sports that are more intense than fast walking. They make you sweat:

  • swimming
  • jumping rope
  • soccer
  • active games that involve running or chasing like tag
  • basketball
  • running
  • aerobic dancing
  • martial arts like Karate

Tip! Make getting more physical activity a family project. Encourage everyone to think of fun things to do during the week and plan for fun weekend activities. Making a physical activity log and posting it on the refrigerator can help everyone plan for and keep track of their activities each month!

Parents and caregivers are important role models!

Don't forget that grownups need to stay active too! Adults should try to do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Show your kids that you enjoy being active and chances are they will follow your lead! Kids with active families are more likely to stay active as adults.

When thinking about how to be more active, make sure to choose activities that are right for you and your family. This means getting to know what resources are available in your area and selecting activities that are safe and appropriate for your children's ages. Most importantly, find ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Walk whenever possible
    • Walk (or bike!) whenever you can. To find safe routes for walking or biking to your child's school check out this link.
    • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator
    • Go up hills instead of around them
  2. Move more in your home and neighborhood
    • Involve kids in active chores, like putting away groceries or sweeping the house
    • Do yard work. Get your children to help rake, weed, or plant at home or at a park in your neighborhood
  3. Play with your kids after school
    • Play a game of catch or tag after school, or help your child practice their favorite sport
    • Play a round of Simon Says with your kids
    • Go for a swim at your community pool or local YMCA
  4. Plan active family weekends
    • Head to a nearby park for a family game of Frisbee™ or Wiffle ball™. If there's a good breeze, bring a kite with you!
    • Pack a healthy picnic and go on an adventure. Check out local spots nearby, including national parks and recreation areas. Go to this page to find sites near you!

Whatever your family chooses to do to stay active, make sure that you find activities that fit into your daily lives. Be sure to select activities that you enjoy and ask your children what activities they want to do. Don't be afraid to explore and try new things! For more tips and ideas check Play Works USA and Kids Health or head to your local community or recreation center. To find a playground in your neighborhood check out this link.