It’s a challenge for many adults to find the time and motivation to exercise regularly, let alone make sure their kids are getting enough activity. Research confirms what most of us have observed: kids these days are spending less time being active than ever before. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average American child now spends six to eight hours with screen media each day, which doesn’t include texting or schoolwork. Rates of childhood obesity are on the rise, and, budget cuts to physical education and after-school sports programs mean that it is up to the parents to make sure their kids are practicing a healthy lifestyle.
Here are two ways to get the whole family exercising together, appealing to even the least athletic offspring!
‘Get Moving’ to your destination
One of the easiest but most overlooked ways to increase activity is to walk, bike, rollerblade, scooter, or skateboard to your destination; instead of driving or using public transit. Don’t assume that everywhere you go is too far! According to the League of American Bicyclists, half of the trips taken in metropolitan areas in the United States are under three miles long, and almost a third are under a mile. Choose at least one regular destination to switch to an active form of transportation, whether it be traveling home from school (a great way to decompress after a long day) or a trip to the grocery store (maybe you’ll be inspired to shop at the nearby farmer’s market instead, which has healthier food options for added health benefits)!
Think outside the box to stay active
Being active doesn’t have to involve going to the gym or playing a sport. For instance, build and keep up a garden together; volunteer to plant trees; take your dog for a walk; play in the park; or have a dance party in the living room. When you stop thinking about physical fitness in terms of “working out”, you’ll find many more ways to get your kids moving.
When you decide to become fit as a family, you’ll gain so much more than healthier children. Use fitness as a way to bond, have fun, and be more engaged in your community.
Original Article by Katrina Jensen: September 1, 2016
Updated Article by Alex Gawel: September 29, 2023
Rideout, V. J., M.A., Foehr, U. G., Ph.D., & Roberts, D. F., Ph.D. (2010). Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-to 18-Year-Olds [PDF]. https://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/8010.pdf
National Household Travel Survey — short trips analysis. (2010). Retrieved August 21, 2016, fromhttp://www.bikeleague.org/content/national-household-travel-survey-short-trips-analysis
About the Author:
Katrina received her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and is a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. Katrina worked as a personal trainer for several years while putting herself through college. In addition to her 16 years experience in the health club and fitness industry and nine years experience in management and supervision, Katrina has competed in several sports including basketball, track & field, softball, and soccer at the collegiate level.