We like to move it!
Making movement fun is one way that parents can help keep children fit. When movement is fun, children will choose movement over sedentary activities and develop a lifelong preference for regular physical activity. Movement throughout the lifetime will help control weight, reduce health risks, and improve mood. Physicians suggest 30 minutes of activity three times per week, and the key to making this happen is planning. You can turn off the television three evenings a week, mark it on the calendar, and make exercise a habit. Weekends offer opportunities for longer outings. Here are just a few suggestions to make movement fun for everyone in the family:
Discover fun songs such as “I Like to Move It” from Madagascar 2 and dance together; dance as you do housework or yard work to make those activities more fun.
Do an experiment with fast and slow tempos: Does listening to a fast song propel you around the block in a shorter time than a slow-paced song? (Research says that it will). Use a timer to find out for yourselves.
A weekend hike can be fun, but a treasure hunt is even more exciting. Letterboxing is a treasure hunt hike without a GPS device. The website www.letterboxing.org explains this unique combination of artistry and navigational skills that makes hiking fun for the whole family.
Make exercise seasonal: Gardening is a way to get a great workout in the spring; everyone can help dig, hoe, plant, and weed a vegetable garden. Summer can involve car washes and fall is raking leaves. In the winter, shoveling snow and snowball fights are invigorating.
When weather permits, play outside: Without a lot of planning or money, you can play lots of sports in the backyard: soccer, catch, Frisbee, tag or football will keep you smiling and moving.
Video sports are available regardless of the weather: Kids and adults alike can get a great workout with the assistance of Wii Fit or the standard Wii package. The added component of competition will keep some kids moving until they drop!
Reduce your car use: If you live within a mile of your child’s school, you can walk or ride bikes to school to get a daily dose of activity. This takes planning and getting up earlier but the rewards are wonderful; walking is a great way to spend time talking.
A simple walk after dinner will help maintain blood sugar in the normal range and provide a time for contemplation and connection. Notice the beautiful surroundings and express gratitude for your blessings.
Remember that children will do what you do. If you want children to be active, move with them. Make sure your children know that you value regular physical exercise for yourself as well as for them.
Written by Lisa Hinz PhD
Written on Feb 28, 2013
Last updated on Aug 27, 2013