Encourage every member of your family to increase daily physical
activity and have fun at the same time. Be sure to think about what
your family can be doing to build in more active time during your
busy week. Here are some suggestions to consider.
- Identify available time slots. Monitor your daily activities
for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots you
could use for physical activity. Then, identify two of them that
work as family activity time.
- Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example,
walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, organize school
activities around physical activity, walk the dog with your
children, exercise while you watch TV, park farther away from
- Make time for physical activity. For example, walk, jog, or
swim during your lunch hour, or take fitness breaks instead of
coffee breaks. Try doing something active after dinner with your
family, especially on weekends.
- Select activities requiring minimal time, such as walking,
jogging, or stair climbing.
Bring others into it
- Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and
family. Ask them to support your efforts.
- Invite friends and family to exercise with you. Plan social
activities involving exercise. Plan a party with physically
active games and activities for your family and your children's
- Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a
group, such as the YMCA or a hiking club.
- Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when
you feel energetic.
- Convince yourself that if you give it a chance, physical
activity will increase your energy level; then try it.
- Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your
family's daily or weekly schedule and write it on a family
- Invite a friend or family member to exercise with you on a
regular basis and write it on both your calendars.
- Join an exercise group or class. Enroll your children in
community sports teams or lessons.
- Select activities requiring no new skills, such as walking,
climbing stairs, or jogging.
- Exercise with friends who are at the same skill level as you
are. Create opportunities for your children to be active with
Build new skills
- Find a friend who is willing to teach you some new
- Take a class to develop new skills and enroll your children
in classes too, such as swimming, gymnastics, or tennis.
Use available resources
- Select activities that require minimal facilities or
equipment, such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, or stretching
and strengthening movements.
- Identify inexpensive, convenient resources available in your
community, such as community education programs, park and
recreation programs, and work site programs.
Make the most of all conditions
- Develop a set of regular activities for you and your family
that are always available regardless of weather, such as indoor
cycling, aerobic dance, indoor swimming, stretching and
strengthening movements, stair climbing, rope skipping, mall
walking, dancing, and gymnasium games.
- Look at outdoor activities that depend on weather conditions,
such as cross-country skiing, outdoor swimming, and outdoor
tennis as "bonuses"—extra activities possible when weather
and circumstances permit.
Adapted from: "How Can I Overcome Challenges to Physical
Activity?" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of
Nutrition and Physical Activity.
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and Human Services.