Exercise Tips for Kids and the Whole Family

Family Fitness

A young boy lazes on the couch while watching TV.

Many children do not get the exercise they need. The "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans" developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

Video games, television, and computers are sedentary behaviors that need to be limited to help your kids be more active. This slideshow contains to get your kids up and moving.

Make an Exercise Schedule

A mom jogs with her daughters.

You and your children are more likely to exercise if you schedule it into your days. Set aside time for physical activity and be a role model for the behavior you want your children to follow.

Support Physical Education Programs in the Schools

A group of kids runs during school P.E. class.

Physical education (P.E.) at school can help kids be more active, but many states have limited programs that require little time. Be an advocate for your child and let the school administration know you want P.E. to be part of your child's curriculum.

Plan Your Vacations, Weekends, and Days Off Around Fitness Fun

A family prepares for their bike ride.

Vacations and days off can involve activities that get the whole family moving. Bike rides, nature hikes, swimming, or even play time on the playground. Make the activities fun and stay positive and encouraging.

Make Use of Community Resources

Children swim in the community pool.

Your local community probably has a lot to offer to get your children active. Your town's Parks and Recreation Department or the local YMCA may offer tennis, golf, swimming, basketball, or other fitness opportunities.

Get the Whole Neighborhood Involved

A neighborhood of parents and kids head to the park for fun.

When the whole neighborhood gets involved, everyone wants to participate! It becomes a fun social activity for the family when the neighborhood plans sporting events such as soccer or baseball games, or even a scavenger hunt.

Dance!

A mother dances with her son.

Dancing is an activity that is easy to do, and doesn't feel like exercise – it just feels like fun! Find music your child likes, or play some of your favorites, and teach each other dance moves.

Expose Your Child to a Variety of Physical Activities and Sports

A boy swims, a girl plays soccer and a boy plays tennis.

Try a variety of activities or sports until your children find ones they like. Involve them in several different activities so they don't tire of any one thing.

Let Your Kids Take Turns Being the Fitness Director for Your Family

A young girl takes the ball and leads her family in some fun park activity.

Let the kids choose the sport or activity, and have siblings take turns. It helps kids feel empowered to make decisions, and they can have fun telling mom and dad and their brothers and sisters what to do.

Reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD on 7/27/2016

Exercise Tips for Kids and the Whole Family

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This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information: Disclaimer

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