According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages 6-17 need an hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. For children ages 6 and under, the guidelines are a little less stringent, with physical activity recommended throughout the day. When taken as a total value, an hour may seem like a lot of time, especially if you need to supervise whatever play or activity is happening.
However, when put into practice, an hour a day can go by pretty quickly, especially when the whole family can join in the fun. If you don’t yet practice ways to get your family moving, June 12 provides a perfect time to start. The second Saturday in every June marks the National Recreation and Park Association’s annual Family Health and Fitness Day.
At Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, distinguished pediatrician Nicolette R. Marak, MD, offers comprehensive care — including well child exams — to make sure children grow up happy, healthy, and disease-free. In this blog, Dr. Marak explains what you need to know about getting your family active.
Getting your family involved in exercise
Today’s children simply aren’t getting enough exercise, and they’re definitely not meeting the CDC guidelines. A study released in 2019 found that most children experience big drop-offs in physical activity at ages 8-11, and this is younger than previously thought.
To make things worse, this active time has mostly transitioned to sedentary time spent playing with electronic devices. If this sounds familiar, there’s hope! The Cleveland Clinic recommends tandem involvement, parents and children being active together, as a way to redirect children from their devices. Here are some ways you can get your family involved in exercise:
Use your yard
Active time doesn’t have to be pure exercise. A lot of outdoor chores can be turned into fun activities for the family. Plant and maintain a garden together to teach your children about healthy food and responsibility. In the fall, rake up leaves as a family and then let your kids enjoy a few safe jumps into the pile. In the winter, turn stringing up Christmas lights into a family tradition.
Transform TV time
There’s no rule that you have to sit while watching TV. Do stretches or yoga with your family during cartoons and family shows. During commercials, have a contest to see who can do the most pushups or jumping jacks before the break ends. If your family likes to binge watch, squeeze in a few minutes of exercise after each episode.
Take a walk
Walking is a great way to weave family bonding into exercise. It’s also a great time for quality conversations. If your family’s walking route gets boring, mix it up by exploring new neighborhoods or by creating a scavenger hunt with things you might encounter. Adding these elements will keep your kids interested and will also give them something to look forward to.
Hit the park
The Birmingham area is filled with beautiful parks, and odds are you live within a short distance of one. Take advantage of the trails and attractions these parks offer to create an enjoyable experience for everyone.
To learn more about how to keep your kids active and healthy, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today.