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Like adults, children need daily exercise. Physical fitness is an important part of life, and there are many great ways that you and your parents can work your bodies. If you want to work on your cardiovascular health, you can walk, run, jog, jump rope, or play hopscotch. Each of those activities get your heart beating faster and make to take deep breaths, giving you a good workout that makes your heart stronger!
If you are more interested in building your strength, you will want to work on your muscle growth. This is done through strength training exercises like lifting weights, doing sit-ups or push-ups, and even helping your parents clean around the house. Then, of course there are the exercises that combine weight training and cardiovascular skill. Those are the most fun! Playing sports like basketball, baseball, and hockey or a quick game of tag in your backyard are all great ways that the whole family can work out together.
To keep the whole family active during the week, it is important to schedule time for activity. Our daily lives can get so busy so quickly with homework, sports or musical instrument practice, school, and more. Mom and Dad get busy, too, with work, bills, and taking care of you! To help them stay active and make sure that everyone gets the exercise they need, set a schedule for activity. For example, make Monday the day the family walks around the neighborhood together. On Tuesdays, enjoy a game of catch in the backyard. Having a set schedule will help you create a routine you can stick to.
Another great way to help keep your family on a good fitness schedule is to make physical activity your mode of transportation. Instead of asking to be dropped off at a friend’s house, walk there. Ride your bike to and from the store if it is close enough to your house. Similarly, make your chores less boring by turning them into physical challenges. For instance, set up an obstacle course to go through in order to put all of your belongings away. Running up and down the stairs should be a main part of the course! Simple swaps like these can make fitting physical activity into your life that much easier.
For older kids, there are still plenty of ways you can stay healthy and active with the family. Planks are an excellent way to make your core muscles stronger. Use your forearms and toes to push up on, then clench your stomach muscles to strengthen them. Challenge Mom and Dad to see who can hold a plank the longest! Chair squats are another great exercise for older kids. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat down until your bottom hits the chair behind you. Using your butt muscles, push yourself back up. This is another exercise to challenge Mom and Dad with: See who can do the most in a minute. There are plenty more strength training exercises you can do at home or at the gym with Mom and Dad. But remember to do what feels right for your body: Never overdo it or use weights that are too heavy for you to lift.
It’s important to get plenty of exercise, but it is also important to eat right. A balanced diet gives our bodies the vitamins, minerals, and proteins it needs to grow big and strong. Without eating right, any effort you put in to work out with your family won’t go well because your body needs the right foods in order to do these things. Always drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables every day. Protein should also be a major part of your diet, and it can be found in meats like chicken and pork, in eggs, and in tofu.
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