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Family Exercise

By Debra K. Whaley, M.D.

Family Exercise image

Many parents struggle with how to fit exercise into their family’s daily routine. By the time you get home from a busy day, feed the kids, and do a few chores around the house, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. One of the problems is that we think of exercise as running laps at the track, lifting weights or other rigorous, heart-pounding workouts. Not only do parents have to think of themselves, but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should get at least one hour of physical activity every day.

Boys Town Pediatrics recommends making exercise fun for the whole family. By doing activities together, parents and children will benefit from the physical exercise and as a bonus, get to spend quality time doing fun activities together.

Tips to Help Your Family Become More Fit

  • Walk to the park. Bring Fido, stroll with your small children in a wagon, or race to the slide. And while you’re at the park, be sure to push each other on a swing, play tag or climb on the monkey bars together!
  • Dance, dance, dance. Turn on your favorite song and make up a dance routine. Each family member can make up his/her own dance moves and other family members can judge each other on talent and difficulty.
  • Run or walk for charity. Pick a walk/run geared toward families with kid entertainment and activities. You will be putting in actual miles on the course, and there will be additional playtime during the post-race festivities.
  • Shoot some hoops. Whether it’s in your backyard or at your local recreation center, a quick pick up game can boost agility while burning calories.
  • Bike the trails. Pick a few trails or explore them all. Your family will be building muscle while encouraging each other to reach the top of the hill. After the ride, enjoy a family picnic.
  • Rake the leaves. Gardening is hard work! It uses almost every muscle in your body. Jump in a pile of leaves or have your children help plant flowers. It’s never exercise when you can have fun getting messy.

The best advice to help kids and families exercise is to make it fun! Think of what your family likes to do together, and make up your own exercise routine. A family that exercises together, stays fit together!​