Encourage Physical Activity

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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Make Exercise Effective and Fun

Physical activity is a critical to preventing childhood obesity. Exercise is most effective and more fun when it’s done as a group. In addition to promoting your child’s health and learning, you’ll feel better too!

Research shows that when children are fit and receive the proper amount of exercise, they perform better in school and are able to learn at a higher level.

Children must be given opportunities to be physically active throughout the day. Use the tips below to find out how you can help reverse the trend toward inactivity in the home and help your children achieve.

Make Exercise a Family Habit

Stay Active at Home

Make Exercise a Family Habit

  • Walk or bike to school together.
  • Take a family walk around the block each night after dinner.
  • Play upbeat music and dance your way through family chore times.

Play Together 

  • Discover free and low-cost physical activity options near your home (parks, bike paths, hiking trails, tennis courts or community swimming pools).
  • Spend an afternoon at the local playground.
  • Play a round of miniature golf together.

Set Family Fitness Goals

  • Post goals on the refrigerator, along with a way to track everyone’s progress. Cheer each other on as goals are achieved!
  • Train together for a charity walk or run.
  • Get pedometers and have a contest to see who takes the most steps in a given week.

Exchange “Screen Time” for Active Time

  • Limit sedentary screen time (computer, tablets, video games, TV) to no more than two hours per day.
  • Encourage your kids to sign up for some form of physical activity. Everyone can find something they enjoy.
  • Support your child by making a commitment to practices and showing up for games or performances.

Learn More

  • Move Your Way (CDC): Includes tools, videos, fact sheets and tips that make it easier to get a little more active.
  • Walking School Bus (Safe Routes to School National Partnership): An organized group of children that walks together to and from school with the supervision of an adult.
  • Bike Trains (Safe Routes to School National Partnership): A group of students and adults who bike to and from school together, making stops along a previously designated route to pick up others as they approach the school. Great for kids who live too far to walk!
  • Tools to Help Connect Kids and Nature (National Wildlife Federation): Provides tools to help families find nearby nature spaces and fun activities, as well as share wildlife sightings