Moms and Dads who exercise with their kids create good habits and bonding time

Young Family Riding Bikes In ParkIn the Daily Herald Newspaper’s June 9th Health & Fitness section, Marie-Jane Williams from the Washington Post shared that we all know the benefits of exercise. It can improve our physical and mental health and help expand our social circles. It’s as close to a panacea as we’re likely to get.

It’s also the best way to get children to use that boundless energy for personal good rather than public destruction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week, plus muscle-strengthening exercise two days a week.

Children and teens need even more exercise: At least 60 minutes each day, according to the CDC. Yet only 20 percent of adults and 25 percent of children ages 12 to 15 get the recommended amount of exercise.

We don’t have the time. We’re distracted by all those shiny devices. We’re horrible about procrastinating. Whatever the reason, parents and children are not taking advantage of the one thing that can reliably make us feel better all around. So this is a call to time-strapped parents and children to put down their smartphones and tablets and get active together.

By exercising as a family, you’ll have a built-in support system. If everyone is working together, the odds of being successful at reaching fitness goals are much greater, said David Buer, a personal trainer based in Atlanta. 

Family exercise can also give you a fun, shared activity that can continue as kids age into those awkward teen years. You know, when they can’t get far enough away from their oh-so-annoying parents.

“Beyond the obvious health and physical benefits, it’s a bonding experience,” Buer said. “You’re leading by example and imprinting these healthy habits that potentially will last a lifetime. It’s also great one-on-one time.”

We spoke to experts in six types of exercise that parents can do with their children. They shared tricks to keep the whining to a minimum and their favorite places to work up a sweat.


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