Encouraging active living with our families – Part 3

Get the whole family to move more through physical activities and sit less.

Despite the temperature outside we need to make sure that our families engage in physical activity. It is recommended that adults get 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week (preferable all days) and children should get at least 60 minutes. The goal is to be able to be physically active for free, or at the least low-cost and to make it fun.

During warm weather, try to do activities outside as much as possible. Some of the activities I did with my children were sidewalk chalk or painting with water and brushes. We talked about how the color changes when wet and watched it change again as it dries. The kids enjoyed painting (with water!) the house or porch.

Go to a farmers market, walk around and let them pick their own fruit and vegetables, and then take them home to prepare to eat. My family enjoyed picking the fruit at the farms themselves.

You can also go to a park to walk your pet or a neighbors pet. Invite friends or other families to join you. You can run and fly a kite, kick/throw a ball, or blow bubbles. Find all the different parks and schools around your town and let your kids pick which ones they want to go to. Make use of your community, schools or university pools. Having a small pool in your own yard, or a sprinkler for kids to run through is always a child’s favorite. My kids always enjoyed a wash day, whether it is the car, their bikes or toys. Children seem to always be attracted to water, why not make it fun.

Try to walk as much as possible instead of driving the car to go places. Walk to the library and get your child involved in the reading summer programs, offered through most libraries. If it is too far to walk, at least park a few blocks away and walk the rest of the way. Walk through your local nature trails or the walking trails that most cities have now.

Michigan State University Extension reminds to always play it safe with your children. Keep then in your sight at all times. Check the playground equipment to make sure it is safe and not broken. Check out the park for any trash/broken glass lying around. Always bring water, snacks and sunscreen with you when being physically active for any length of time. Try to go outside during the cooler part of the day, mornings and evenings will be your best bet as not to get overheated. Remember to always make it fun and interactive.

Remember to consult your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Be sure to read part four of Encouraging active living with our families for examples of physical activities with children.

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