There is no doubt about it, moving around is good for our bodies. There are lots of great ways for families to be active that don’t require expensive gym memberships or special sports or classes.
The American Heart Association recommends children get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. For health benefits, adults should be moderately active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Is that about how much you get? Lots of people actually over estimate the amount of physical activity they get.
Try this activity to see how much physical activity you and your family are really getting. Have each person make a list of the following ways they get activity in a week.
- How much activity time do you get at school or work?
- How much activity time do you get when you’re home after school or work?
- What about exercise on the weekends?
If you’re not getting the amount of activity you’d like, consider buying pedometers for each member of your family and launching a “pedometer challenge” to check daily and weekly footsteps. Offer small rewards for the person who wins at the end of each day, bigger rewards for the person who has the highest total at the end of each week.
Make sure the prizes are health-related, or at least don’t involve unhealthful foods. Prizes could include things like getting to choose the next family activity or the next meal.
Use our Health Powered Kids lessons, “Pedometer Fitness Challenge” to find links to a pedometer challenge tracking sheet and two pedometer challenge maps. The maps show how many steps it would take your family to travel from Mall of America to various Minnesota and Wisconsin landmarks. The water parks in Wisconsin Dells are only 438,000 steps away! Ready, set, step!