Friday, March 14, 2008

Fitness Friday - Family Fitness

Kids these days are spending too much time sitting still, and it's becoming a major health risk. American children 8 years old and above spend an average of 6.5 hours a day engaging with media technologies including watching TV, using the computer and playing video games. Studies have shown that the more TV kids watch, the more likely they are to be overweight.

Increasing physical activity improves cardiovascular fitness, helps prevent obesity, promotes a healthy lifestyle, boosts self-esteem and confidence, and reduces stress. You don't need to have a lot of fancy equipment or a membership at a health club - there are many ways to make your family's lifestyle more active.

To overcome resistance from reluntant youngsters, it helps to make the activity fun. For example, don't just run with a young child - run like a penguin or hop like a kangaroo. Or have a destination like a park or the zoo!

Here are 15 ideas for getting your family on the move:

  • Take active vacations (hiking, swimming, skiing)

  • At the mall or when running errands, use the stairs rather than the elevator

  • Get pedometers and have a contest to see who takes the most steps in a given week

  • Start a new tradition: take the whole family out for an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood or park

  • Take on active chores as a family (gardening, raking leaves, shoveling snow, or washing the car)

  • Spend an afternoon at the local park

  • Play a sport together (basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, touch football)

  • Dance to your favorite music

  • Go for a family bike ride

  • Plant a family garden

  • Play miniature golf

  • Go to the zoo

  • Take the dog for a long walk

  • Whenever possible, take short walks instead of using your car. When you drive, park a little farther away from the store.

  • Play games that your kids love (tag, Simon Says, Red Light-Green Light, Duck-Duck Goose)

This article was taken from

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