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Fit Family Fun!

By Cristina F. Toscano, RD

10 fun ways to get moving as a family

 Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise each week, or a combination of the two, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services. For children and adolescents ages 6-17, the CDC recommends 1 hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. After all, exercise can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, multiple forms of cancer, depression, heart disease, and many other chronic ailments. It is also linked to improved mood, better sleep, enhanced concentration, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. The benefits, it seems, are endless for both adults and children. Exercise is good for the whole family, so why get moving together? Here is a list of 10 fun ways to get active as a family:

1.Go for a walk or bike ride.

Going for a walk or bike ride can be a fun way to bond with your family. You can explore new places together and make memories. Turn it into an adventure by making a few stops along the way for some photography or bird watching. If it’s cold or rainy, just head to your local mall and do some window shopping while you get your steps in.

2.Get active at the playground.

If you have young children, chances are you head to the playground regularly anyway. Why not use it as an excuse to get some exercise into your day? Instead of sitting on the bench, get up and move WITH your child. You can play together or even use the playground equipment to help you do some basic exercises such as squats, pushups, and pull ups.

3.Choose 10 yoga poses to do as a family each night.

Yoga is great for flexibility, strength, and movement. Having your children help you choose the poses can get them involved and excited about moving together! For added fun, take turns using the poses to tell a story. For example: Once upon a time there was a WARRIOR (warrior pose) who fought a giant COBRA (cobra pose)…

4.Put on some music and have a dance party!

Mix things up by taking turns playing DJ and choosing the songs You can even play freeze dance or take turns choosing a dance move for everyone to try.

5.Play ball.

There are so many different games to play outdoors or indoors with a ball. You can practice a sport like baseball, basketball, or soccer, or invent your own games. As long as you’re moving, you’re doing it right!

  1. Go swimming.

If it’s too cold to swim outdoors, check your local community center or gym to find a nice heated indoor pool.

  1. Plan a scavenger hunt.

You’ll have so much fun you won’t even realize you’re exercising. You can plan a nature scavenger hunt outdoors, looking for natural things such as a red leaf, an acorn, or a cloud shaped like a dinosaur. You can plan in advance and hide notes around the house for everyone to search for.

  1. Play tag or jump rope.

These games aren’t just for children. They can be a silly way for the whole family to sweat together!

  1. Move more when running errands.

Make a game out of finding the farthest spot in the parking lot and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. See who can race up the stairs faster, or have everybody try to skip a step as they head up the stairs.

  1. Plant a garden.

Many people do not realize that gardening can be a great form of moderate aerobic exercise. It gets the whole family moving and can even help your children become more interested in trying new fruits and vegetables!

For more information, please visit:

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/the-secret-to-better-health-exercise

https://www.nemours.org/patientfamily/khlibrary/articles/exercise.html

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/guidelines.html

https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html

Cristina is a Registered Dietitian, Diabetes and Family Health Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program. She can be reached at cft36@cornell.edu

 

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