I've had the pleasure of chatting on Facebook with momstown moms and other moms like me, about moms getting active and moving. It's forced me to examine and evaluate just how active our family is right now and what we can do better. I have always had weight issues my whole life and it's really shaped who I am, from the teasing at a young age to even my insecurities as an adult- it's been a part of me.
The truth is that many of us are great at creating a family culture where being active is just part of everyday life and starts from walking to school in the moring to family hikes with the dog at night. The reality is also that many of us are not active ourselves and therefore, our kids are not inspired to get off the couch and exercise.
Just for a moment, read these stats and think of the impact this has on your child, on MY child;
Health specialists say that children and youth should be getting at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. With only 9% of boys and 4% of girls actually meeting these requirements, this country’s current approach to physical literacy just isn’t cutting it.
Some great news is that our school board has instituted a DPA- a 15-20 minute period of physical activity once a day, in addition to the regular morning and lunch recess. This means that the schools are recognizing their responsibility in making sure our kids have at least 60 minutes of exercise a day.
1. Count your steps! My whole family have pedometers to challenge each other to reach our daily stepping goals and out-step each other. We have a lot of fun with the friendly competition!
2. Let the kids walk the dog! This used to be MY job in the family, and while I still join them for the walks, part of their responsibility at home is to walk our dog twice around our block each day.
3. Limit screen time. This is tough, but especially important in September when you are setting the rules for the winter months. Our boys can watch 1.5 hours after school until bedtime. We allow them an extra 15 minutes, if they choose to play an active game on our gaming system.
4. Choose the right screen time. T.V. requires no movement and is an extremely passive activity. If they need some downtime, we encourage our kids to play some video games that are active for their brains and bodies!
5. Family work out time. We have an outdoor trampoline that is really fun in the warm weather, but as it gets cooler, we need to be creative. We bought an inexpensive kid's basketball net, soccer net, work out equipment and mats for our basement. It may not be fancy, but working out or doing sports as a family is really fun. Make a routine of it, each night after dinner! Our family has also signed up to walk in a charity walk for SickKids- a great way to be active together and also raise money for a great cause!
6. Walk instead of drive. We have a local farm about 20 minutes walking distance and I've always taken the car. No more! The boys and I biked there last weekend to get local produce for dinner. Why had I never walked there before? Just think about all the places around you where you can actually walk instead of drive; play dates with friends, school, after school programs, getting groceries, etc.
7. Choose active afterschool activities. Our two boys need to pick programs that keep them active at least 2 times a week. For my 6 year old, he has a hockey practice and game each week. For my 10 year old, he has chosen a local basketball league and a tween cardio class each week. In addition to those two things, we will consider non-active programs like guitar, piano, art classes, etc.
8. Set the example. The last piece of the puzzle for our family this year is getting my husband and I into a class or program for US to stay active! Now that school has started and the kids are all set- the focus will shift to us! momstown moms love that our chapters focus on Fitness as one of our program pillars! Stay tuned for what we choose!
Need some more inspiration for the kids? momstown Finds has found some great products and ideas to help your child learn to love exercise.
What are some ways that YOU keep your family active?