Become a More Active Family
Physical activity is important for children and adults of all ages, so being active as a family can benefit everyone. Adults need 2½ hours a week of physical activity, and children need 60 minutes a day. Follow these tips to add more physical activity to your family’s busy schedule.
- Set specific activity times. Determine times throughout the week when the whole family is available and try to devote these times to physical activity. For example, your family can plan to do something active after dinner or begin the weekend with a sunny Saturday morning walk.
- Plan ahead and track your progress. Write your activity plans on a family calendar. Letting kids help in planning the activities and allowing them to check the activities off after completing them can encourage confidence and excitement about being active.
- Include work around the house Involve the kids in yard work and other active chores around the house. Have them help you with raking, weeding, planting, or vacuuming.
- Use what is available. Plan activities that require little or no equipment or facilities. Examples include walking, jogging, jumping rope, playing tag, and dancing. Find out what programs your community recreation center offers for free or minimal charge.
- Build new skills. Enroll the kids in classes they might enjoy, such as gymnastics, dance, or tennis, and help them practice. This will keep things fun and interesting, while also actively encouraging them to try new skills!
- Plan for all weather conditions. Choose activities that do not depend on the weather. Try mall walking, indoor swimming, or active video games when weather determines, and enjoy outdoor activities as a nice weather bonus!
- Turn off the TV. Set a rule that no one can spend longer than 2 hours per day playing video games, watching TV, and using the computer (except for school work). Instead of a TV show, play an active family game, dance to favorite music, or go for a walk.
- Start small. Begin by introducing one new family activity and add more when you feel everyone is ready. Take the dog for a longer walk, play another ball game, or go to an additional exercise class.
- Include other families. Invite others to join your family activities. This is a great way for you and your kids to spend time with friends while being physically active. Plan parties with active games such as bowling or an obstacle course, sign up for family programs at the YMCA, or join a recreational club.
- Treat the family with fun physical activity. When it is time to celebrate as a family, do something active as a reward. Plan a trip to the zoo, park, or lake to treat the family.
Active Lifestyle Tips
Move more! Get out! Join in! Jump up and before you know it, you'll be moving!
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10 Tips for being Active Everyday!
Physical activity can help make your daily life better. When you are physically active, your body releases a chemical called endorphins. This encourages production of serotonin (“happiness chemicals”) in the brain and helps minimize any pain or discomfort in our bodies. More health benefits related to increased physical activity include:
- Boost your mood
- Sharpen your focus
- Reduce your stress
- Improve your sleep
Ready to get more active this week?
Use this planner to set goals, choose activities you want to do, and get tips to help you stay motivated. When you’re done, print out your plan to track activity throughout the week.
Physical Activity Tips
Adding more physical activity into your day can be intimidating, but with a little help, it can also be easy! It is important to choose activities that you know you enjoy so you will be more motivated to stick to them. To help, we have provided some examples below. Remember to celebrate even your smallest victories and prioritize making physical activity fun for all involved—your brain and body will both benefit from this!
1. Take 10
Do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time to reach your weekly goal. Walk the dog for 10 minutes before and after school and add a 10-minute walk at lunchtime.
2. Mix it up
Start the week with a swim at the pool, take a yoga class, lift weights in the evening, and end the week by working in your garden.
3. Be ready anytime
Keep comfortable clothes or running shoes and a bottle of water in your backpack.
4. Find ways to move
Take a brisk walk around the yard, jog to the bus stop, or ride your bike to the park. Enjoy the fresh air!
5. Workout during TV time
Watch a movie while you jog in place or download a video on your phone and watch while you stretch.
6. Find support
Join a walking group, play wheelchair sports, practice martial arts, or sign up for an exercise class in your community. Recruit family or friends for support.
7. Enjoy the outdoors
Tumble in the leaves, build a snowman or take a nature walk. Visit a county or national park and spend time hiking, canoeing, or boating.
8. Join a team
Join a softball, basketball, or volleyball team at school. Find out if you can starting a physical activity club with friends at school or in your neighborhood.
9. Chores count, too!
Clean your room, wash the car, or mow the lawn with a push mower. Know that these activities count toward your goal of at least 150 minutes each week.
Train Like An Astronaut!
Running burns 472 calories an hour.
Skipping burns 384 calories an hour.
Soccer burns 590 calories an hour.
Obstacle Course 531 burns calories an hour.
Cycling burns 236 calories an hour.
Jumping Rope burns 590 calories an hour.
Swimming burns 354 calories an hour.
Volleyball burns 472 calories an hour.
Kickball burns 413 calories an hour.
Baseball burns 295 calories an hour.
Kick-the-Can burns 295 calories an hour.
Tetherball burns 350 calories an hour.
Three-legged Race burns 472 calories an hour.
Skating burns 413 calories an hour.
Football burns 472 calories an hour.
Foursquare burns 207 calories an hour.
Tennis burns 472 calories an hour.
Yoga burns 236 calories an hour.
Frisbee burns 177 calories an hour.
Dance burns 325 calories an hour.
Hiking burns 354 calories an hour.
Cartwheels burns 325 calories an hour.
Golf burns 266 calories an hour.
Skiiing burns 354 calories an hour.