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There is no denying that poor nutrition and lack of exercise have become a major problem for our children. Over 16% of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are considered obese (CDC); and physical activity continues to decline with more and more schools either eliminating or drastically reducing their physical education programs. Parents cannot rely on schools to teach their children about good nutrition and exercise habits, those lessons need to start at home.

Families that eat healthy meals together and make exercise a priority are less likely to have children who suffer with weight problems and are more likely to have children that know who to make lifelong healthy living choices.

Exercising as a family can be a great bonding experience. You can carry over those great family conversations from the dinner table to the sidewalk. There are many great ways to exercise as a family. One fantastic way is to walk together. Walking allows you to get the exercise you need, spend time together as a family, and partake in an activity that is within the capabilities of all family members.

Here are some tips for making your family exercise experience a good (and successful one):

  • Set family goals. Have a family meeting to discuss your walking goals, and then follow that up with weekly or monthly family meetings to keep track of your success.
  • Track your progress. Consider making charts or calendars to track the families progress, ie how many steps you did each day or how many miles, etc.
  • Cater to your youngest family members. Set goals and track progress with your little ones in mind. You want everyone involved so don’t set expectations that excluded your youngest members.
  • Make sure everyone has the proper attire and adheres to all safety rules.
  • Be creative with your walk. Consider turning the walk into a scavenger hunt or think up other fun games you can play along the way.
  • Pick new and different destinations for your walk. Even consider letting your child lead the way sometimes, it will be interesting to see where he or she decides to lead you.
  • On weekends or when you have extra time incorporate your walk into a fun family day. Find something fun for the family to do that is within walking distance. You can walk to your fun destination, spend the day having fun as a family, and then walk home. All your fun and exercise rolled into one!

Both children and adults need to get at least 30 minutes of exercise (and preferably 60 minutes) every day. Incorporating a family walk into your daily routine can be a great way to accomplish this task and have fun as a family.

Do you have a family exercise routine? What do your kids love to do?

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