Ways to encourage your kids to be active

The best way to increase your children's activity is to get participate.

Be a role model and set a good example on being active with your children. Telling them to be active and being active with them are two different things. They will always join in with us to keep ourselves active and physically fit. The sooner we start them out the better chance to make this a live time habit. We need to teach them that the present is an important time to take care of our health and that it is not a chore. 

Start out for short periods and build your time up as you get more comfortable. It is recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes 5 times a week and children should get at least 60 minutes a day. Praise, reward and encourage physical activity by providing activity-related equipment/or community gyms or active outings. Try to plan a set time for the exercise or break it up into 10 minute slots throughout the day.

Go take advantage of the school equipment or local parks. Just because it is winter does not mean we can’t play outside. Sledding at the parks is great exercise and fun too! Tracking animal tracks and trying to identify them in the snow is always fun and interesting. Always dress appropriately. Jump rope inside or out making a game out of it, like who can do the most jumps. Make a room indoors accessible for dancing or yoga or Simon says. Make a half day plans on the weekend for family exercise like walking in the woods. Ask the children help plan on what activity they would like to do.

We can encourage children to be active with chores such as light housekeeping such as sweeping or mopping. Also use outside chores such as like raking leaves, shoveling the snow or even walking the trash out. Have them join sport activities with their school, local Boys and Girls Clubs and Boy or Girl Scouts. These activities not only help physically, but also help their social skills. Utilize your local colleges and universities for the uses of their gyms and pools. These places usually have low or no cost family times.

Try to have the kids use the stairs whenever possible. Walk to the library if it is close or park a few blocks away and walk. When using computer game, try to choose the physical active ones that they need to participate in. 

Remember that our kids are watching us, so we need to set a good example. Make this a whole family fun time and along with the kids we will also feel physically better!

For more tips on healthy living, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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