Over the past thirty years, overweight amongst children and teens has doubled. Furthermore, overweight has been linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Children learn by modeling the behavior of their parents. By maintaining a physically active lifestyle with your family you can improve the health of your child while preventing him or her from developing a lifestyle of sedentary behavior.

Put exercise into your family’s schedule.

Make it routine: schedule a time each day as you would other appointments.

Include activities you enjoy so you will look forward to your exercise.

Keep your exercise equipment (shoes, bike helmets, rollerblades) visible and easily accessible.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, adults and kids over 5 years old should strive to achieve 60 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week. The biggest problem facing families is how to fit this into their already full schedules. Try some of the exercise tips below to help your family reach their goal.

Everyday

Get outdoors: take evening family walks

Walk or bike to school

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Walk the dog

Walk to the store

Park the car further away

Take stairs instead of the elevator

Play in the garden

On the Weekend

Hire a babysitter to spend time with your younger child while you exercise with the older child.

Take a family trip to the beach or park and spend the day actively playing.

Schedule a family outing that includes biking, walking, rollerblading, or hiking.

Cut Down On

Watching TV

Playing Computer Games

Browsing the Internet

Sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time

Video Games

Watching DVDs and/or Movies