9 healthy activities you can do with your kids.
The problem of obesity is not one that just affects adults. For a number of years, health experts have been warning about this dangerous trend in children. According to the American Heart Association, “Today, about 1 in 3 kids and teens is overweight or obese… Childhood obesity is now the No 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.” It’s a recipe for future cases of heart disease, type II diabetes, and other serious health conditions. In fact, those conditions are already being diagnosed in kids and teens: “Obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood.”
The good news is that adopting better eating habits and exercising can avoid these chronic conditions. It’s not always easy to find the time to exercise, especially for a busy family. One solution is to find ways to do things together.
1. Get outside
Let’s face it — we all spend too much time sitting around inside. This is especially true of children and teens, who spend an average 3-7 hours a day in front of some kinds of screen. So plan daily or weekly activities you can all do together outside. Hiking, biking, playing catch, soccer or kickball, are all great activities most of the year. In the summer you can add swimming or other water sports. In the winter, you might go sledding or build a snowman.
2. Take a fitness class
Look into fitness clubs or community centers that have classes for all ages. Many centers offer group activities and individual training sessions that include workout tips, as well as nutrition advice. Speak to a trainer about how to include your children, tweens, and teens in these activities.
Now, we know it might be hard to sell cleaning the house as “fun” to your kids, but there are ways to do it. Start by making a competition out of it. Put sticky notes on whatever needs cleaning and as the kids finish that task, they collect the notes. Whoever collects the most notes wins a prize. You can even time your cleaning. It’ll get everyone moving faster and shorten cleaning time overall.
An easy way to incorporate a daily fitness activity is to go on an evening walk, even if it’s just around the block, and you can inspire a lifetime habit. It’s something you can do with kids of any age, from toddlers to teens. If your child isn’t walking yet or can’t make it around the block, put him or her in a stroller. You’re still walking and your toddler is outside in the fresh air.
5. Have a dance party
Transform your living room into a disco. Move the furniture and rugs aside and clear a dance floor. Turn off the lights and add colorful flashlights or strobes. Then crank up the music, choosing songs of the kids’ choosing. You can also introduce them to the songs you danced to as a teenager.
6. Walk for charity
This one helps in two ways. Many charities and organizations sponsor local fundraising walks throughout the year. Look into the ones in your area and join in as a family. Not only will you take part in fitness activity, but you are also teaching your children about the importance of giving back and helping others in the community. It’s a win-win for all concerned.
Set aside at least 30 minutes a day for fitness. It can be as simple as taking the kids to the park, bouncing on a trampoline, or playing hide and seek indoors if it’s raining or too cold to go outside.
8. Make play dates active dates
If you’re planning a play date for the kids in the neighborhood or classmates, make it something active. Play soccer, basketball, freeze tag, or have a ball with a JumpSport® Trampoline Game and Party Pak. For indoor activates, think about bowling, ice/roller skating, or places that have indoor rock climbing walls or jungle gyms.
9. Yardwork can be fun and active, too
Depending on the season, there are many ways to make yardwork fun. In the winter, there might be snow people, and fall can mean raking leaves (and of course running and jumping into the pile). In the spring and summer months, you can plant a garden, and even the littlest kids can get in on the action by helping to dig the holes or plant the bulbs or seeds. The older ones can fill and carry watering cans or drag the hose.
These are just some of the ways you can make family fitness part of your weekly routine. You can probably come up with even more. The important thing is to start instilling healthy habits in your kids now to help ensure they grow into healthy, active adults later.