Family Fitness Exercise Tips from Dr. Family

Just as important as healthy eating, is making sure that everyone in the family gets regular exercise. You don’t need a gym or fancy equipment – or even a lot of time – to get a healthy amount of exercise. In fact, some recent research suggests that even an additional 15 minutes of light exercise (e.g., a brisk walk) can significantly improve health. Here are a couple of suggestions – and a couple of fun exercises, the whole family can enjoy together!

  • Play fitness games with your kids, like “Dr. Family Sez”, “Follow the Leader”, or the classic “Red Light-Green Light”. If there are children under 6, empower them by letting them be the leader. Keep the game moving; the more you move, the more calories you’ll burn.
  • Go for family walks together after meals. Vary the pace frequently, from a leisurely stroll to a fast walk. Let the kids decide where to lead the group, but make sure the total walk is at least 30 minutes. Try to walk together at least three times a week.
  • Make it a game for family members to come up with ways to build more exercise into everyday activities. Here are some possibilities, but make sure every member of the family comes up with at least one new “exercise” for regular activities:
    • Park as far away rather than as close as you can in a parking lot.
    • Walk to the next bus stop rather than the nearest one
    • Take stairs rather than an escalator or elevator
    • Stand, rather than sit, when you are doing homework. (Yes, standing rather than sitting is a form of exercise!)

How many more can you come up with? Share them with others by writing them in the Comments section below!

Next week, I’ll have some fun exercises to do with younger family members.

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