Getting Kids to Move More

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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+) (
Super Stretch Yoga HD (ages 4+) (
7-Minute Workout for Kids (ages 6-8) (
Wipeout Create & Crash (ages 10+)
Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure (ages 7+)

More info on these games can be found at

Make fun times active: Schedule active outings for weekends, school holidays, or birthday parties. Ideas include:

Mini golf
Frisbee golf

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

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