How to Get Your Kids to Exercise


What can you as a parent do to increase activity time with your child?

Lee offers this advice:

• Be informed about physical activity. Know how much is enough: The current recommendation for kids aged 6 to 17 is 60 minutes of activity every day.

• Understand that every little bit counts. "That 60 minutes might seem like a lot," says Lee, "but it can be accumulated throughout the day. So look for opportunities wherever you are, whether it's at home, at the mall, anywhere."

• Try to hang out more. Make a point of having more family meals together. Think of activities to do, even if just for a few minutes. "No need to make a big deal about it," says Lee. "Consider scheduling a day or two each week, or an evening, where you get some together time."

• Establish habits early on. "One thing we found was that co-physical activity time went down as child age went up" says Lee. "The 9-year-olds were significantly more likely to spend more time being active with their parents than the 13-year-olds." At the younger age, kids are more likely to want to hang out with you, she says. So take advantage of that and get them in the habit of exercising for fun.

• Seek out supervised activity in your neighborhood. If you're worried about safety, consider school or club sports teams for your child. Or see what sports or activities are on offer at the local Y or community center, where there's adult supervision.


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