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5 Tips For Fitting Physical Activity Into Everyday Life

5 Tips For Fitting Physical Activity Into Everyday Life

Today’s post is courtesy of Stacy Molander of the Partnership for a Healthier America. Stacy was a recent expert speaker during our Bright Horizons Family Matters parent webinar: Seize the Summer – Fitness Tips for Busy Families

Between work, school, dinner, extracurriculars, and homework, is there really time for daily physical activity? I didn’t use to think so, but over the past few years my family and I have made moving more of a priority and have discovered it’s not only possible but actually makes all of us feel great.

A strong body of research indicates that active kids do better both in school and in life – a phenomenon that we have witnessed firsthand. Children need 60 minutes of physical activity every day, which may seem overwhelming at first, but keep in mind that 60 minutes doesn’t have to happen all at once. A game of tag at recess here, a jump rope session with friends there – each activity contributes to the overall goal.

Every family is different, but the first step for many people is to look for easy ways to incorporate physical activity into everyday life. It will take some trial and error to figure out the best strategy, but once you do, you and your family will begin moving more without thinking twice.

Preschoolers riding bikes outside

5 Tips For Fitting Physical Activity Into Everyday Life

  1. Turn everyday activities into physical activities. As a working parent, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate physical activity into the daily routine. For me, right now, it’s walking. I park my car at my son’s child care center, drop him off, and then walk 30 minutes through downtown DC to my office. I started this habit after trying out a fitness tracker and realizing how little I was moving every day. Now it has become a natural part of my schedule.
  2. Create positive fitness experiences early. Kids are designed to move, but not every type of physical activity works for every child. When you encourage your kids from a young age to experiment and test out a wide range of activities, they will be more likely to enjoy being physically active. This approach will help them figure out what they like best and help keep them motivated to continue on a physically active path for years to come.
  3. Don’t let being stuck inside get in your way. There are days when heading outside just isn’t in the cards. With a little creativity you can find tons of different ways to stay active indoors. Dance parties are always a popular choice in my house. We have also been known to suspend the “no running in the house” rule for limited periods of time to play indoor-friendly versions of hide-and-go-seek and tag.
  4. Develop an activity bucket list. When you’re in a bind, an activity bucket list can be a good way to come up with fresh ideas to keep your whole family active. Sometimes these new activities can even become family favorites. With a 9-year-old and 2-year-old, we’re always looking for activities that everyone can do together. After trying it out a few times, yoga has turned into a regular family activity. That may seem strange with a 2-year-old, but for us, my older daughter likes to be the “teacher” while my younger son takes on the role of the “student” – along with my husband and me, of course. We tried a few different things before we landed on family yoga – and at some point down the road it may switch to something else on the bucket list.
  5. Remember, nobody’s perfect. There are going to be days when you and your family don’t fit in as much physical activity as you should, and that’s okay. Tomorrow is always another day and another chance to be as active as possible.

For more ideas on how to get moving as a family, visit PHA on Pinterest or sign up for our monthly PHA e-newsletter.

Stacy Molander - The Partnership for a Healthier AmericaStacy Molander is the Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at the Partnership for a Healthier America, which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to end the childhood obesity crisis within a generation. She joined PHA in May 2012 with more than 15 years of experience as a marketing and communications professional. Stacy is a mother of two, with a nine-year-old daughter named Hannah and a two-year-old son named George who attends Bright Horizons in DC. 

For more of Stacy’s strategies for incorporating exercise and wellness into your family’s routine, watch our Bright Horizons parent webinar on Fitness Tips for Busy Families.

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