Engaging in physical activity as a family can be a fun way to get everyone moving. Studies show that kids who believe they are competent and have the skills to be physically active are more likely to be active. And those who feel supported by friends and families to become active, or surrounded by others interested in physical activity, are more likely to participate.
Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day, but it doesn't have to occur at once. It all adds up! And remember, sleep is just as important and is an essential part of living an active life. A recent study found that with each extra hour of sleep, the risk of a child being overweight or obese dropped by nine percent.
Here are a few activities and steps that you and your family can consider to get started on a path to a healthier lifestyle:
Give children toys that encourage physical activity like balls, kites, and jump ropes.
Encourage children to join a sports team or try a new physical activity.
Limit TV time and keep the TV out of a child’s bedroom.
Walk around the block after a meal.
Make a new house rule: no sitting still during television commercials.
Find time to spend together doing a fun activity: family park day, swim day or bike day.
Issue a family challenge to see who can be the first to achieve a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award by committing to physical activity five days a week, for six weeks. Adults and children can both receive the award!
Talk to your children’s principal or write a letter to your district superintendent to incorporate more physical education in schools.
Encourage schools to hold recess prior to lunch to increase physical activity before mealtime.
Volunteer to help with afterschool physical activity programs or sports teams.
Be sure that children get the sleep they need. Most children under age five need to sleep for 11 hours or more per day, children age five to 10 need 10 hours of sleep or more per day, and children over age 10 need at least nine hours per day.
Learn how engaging in outside activities can be fun and affordable for families through Let’s Move Outside, which promotes a range of healthy outdoor activities for children and families across the country.