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Exercise is important for every member of your family, and for good reason: It improves your overall fitness and heart health, keeps your weight under control, enhances sleep and reduces stress. Families that exercise together don’t just strengthen their muscles—they strengthen their emotional connection.
“Incorporating exercise at a young age helps to set the stage for healthy habits as an adult,” said Katie Nelson, Personal Trainer and ACSM Exercise Physiologist at Inspira Fitness Connection. “It also goes a long way toward preventing childhood obesity, which is a serious problem for many children and adolescents in the United States.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children get 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day. School-aged children between the ages of six and 17 should also engage in bone-strengthening activities, such as running and jumping, and muscle-building exercises, like climbing or doing pull-ups, three times a week.
“Adults should shoot for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, with at least two-to-three days devoted to muscle-strengthening exercise,” explained Nelson.
Getting the whole family moving can seem like a daunting challenge, but there are plenty of ways to establish a feasible—and fun—exercise routine.
Take a hike
Going on a family stroll is a great first step toward reaching your fitness goals. You can do it virtually anywhere, and hiking and walking don’t require any special skills or equipment.
Plan active trips
Whether your clan prefers to explore a new city or hit the trails at a national park, vacations that feature physical activities are a great way to stay in shape while making fond memories.
Make chores fun
Rather than delegating chores, tackle your household’s to-do list as a family unit. Tasks like raking leaves, pulling weeds and shoveling snow can be fun when you work together—plus, they’ll get done in half the time if everyone pitches in.
Hit the playground
If you’ve got young children, take a trip to your local playground and try out the monkey bars, swings and jungle gym.
Limit screen time
By setting limits on screen time, you’ll also be limiting the amount of time your children spend sitting. Research shows that prolonged sitting is linked to a variety of health issues, from obesity and high blood pressure to excess body fat and increased cholesterol levels. Instead of scrolling on their phones or playing video games, challenge your children to a game of soccer in the backyard or go on a bike ride together.
The key to making exercise stick is to do it regularly. The sooner working out becomes part of your family’s routine, the sooner you can start enjoying the many health benefits it has to offer.
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