Kids and teens need 60 minutes of exercise daily. Here are some ways to get them off the couch.
Call it play: Words matter. Kids may not want to “exercise” every day, but they probably want to “play” as much as possible. Teens may be more open to “moving.”
Count every minute: They don’t have to do 60 minutes all at once. Short spurts throughout the day add up.
Plan it: Put play on the calendar so kids can see what’s planned. Or use something like the Let’s Move Healthy Family Calendar.
Cut screen time: Less screen time means more play time. Use the Let’s Move Screen Time Log.
Take screen breaks: When watching TV, everyone moves during commercials. Video game players take a break every 15 minutes. Older kids get homework breaks. Stand up, walk the stairs, do jumping jacks, dance —you get the idea.
Make new habits: Have the whole family come up with a list of habits they promise to keep. Here are a few examples:
Always take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Always park further away from the door.
Always take a walk after dinner.
Always walk to school on Fridays.
Use apps and videos: Look for kid-friendly yoga and exercise videos at the library and on YouTube. Try some apps, like:
Sworkit kids (ages 7+) (http://apple.co/1Qeczmf)
Super Stretch Yoga HD (ages 4+) (http://apple.co/2aLInki)
7-Minute Workout for Kids (ages 6-8) (http://apple.co/2aKkNkH)
Wipeout Create & Crash (ages 10+)
Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure (ages 7+)
More info on these games can be found at http://bit.ly/1Feece9.
Make fun times active: Schedule active outings for weekends, school holidays, or birthday parties. Ideas include:
By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.