Daily Tips to Help Keep Your Family Active
How can you help your family be more physically active and get enough exercise to stay healthy? Get up and move more as part of your everyday routine with our easy tips and hacks. Every April, we celebrate Move More Month to encourage everyone to get active for better health.
The focus of the month is how simple daily efforts and habits can infuse more activity into your life without taking up a lot of time you don’t have!
Here are our top 30 tips to help you and your family be more active.
- Just move more! There are lots of fun and easy ways to build more activity into your everyday routine, even if you’re not a gym hero.
- Park and go. How many times have you circled the parking lot to find that “rock star” spot? Spare yourself the stress by parking farther away (or even in a remote lot) and walking the rest of the way to your destination.
- Wear what you’ve got. You don’t need special clothing to simply get out and walk. A comfortable, supportive pair of shoes and a few basics will keep you ready to go.
- Work out at work. Add some healthy activity to your work day. Take 10-minute walking breaks, schedule walking meetings when possible, do some yoga or stretching during downtime, or walk to a nearby restaurant for lunch instead of driving.
- Schedule it. Having trouble making time for physical activity? Set an alarm on your phone or schedule it on your calendar – and treat it like any other important appointment.
- Be sweet to your feet. Keep your feet happy (along with your knees and legs) so you can move more without discomfort.
- Take the stairs. but it doesn’t up your activity level. Take the stairs instead, even if only for a floor or two. You may huff and puff at first, but over time, your body will thank you.
- Set a goal. Having a commitment or goal, like being active for at least 150 minutes each week, will help you stay on track. Share it with others to keep yourself accountable. If you’re the competitive type, challenge friends, family or coworkers and see who can consistently meet their goals over time.
- Go mobile. Catching up on phone calls? Walk your talk – in your neighborhood, on a treadmill or around your workplace. If you use a headset or earbuds make sure you can still hear traffic.
- Pick up the pace. When walking, running or cycling, increase your speed from leisurely to brisk or choose a route with more hills or inclines. Or alternate moderate and vigorous intensity. You’ll get a more intense workout in the same amount of time.
- Be a sport. Team and individual sports can be a fun way to meet your activity goals. Join a recreation center or league in your community, or round up some friends or coworkers for an informal game.
- Buddy up. Find a physical activity accountability partner. Your spouse or a coworker who always holds you to your deadlines can also help you reach your fitness goals.
- Fitness first. Shake up your family’s after-school/after-work routine. Join your kids for a bike ride or shoot some hoops before starting on homework and chores. You’ll all feel better and think better!
- Timing is everything. If you find you’re better at sleeping in than making it to that morning workout, try getting active at a different time of day.
- Just dance. Clear some space, put on some music, and take a dance break! It can re-energize a work meeting, study session, lazy Sunday or game night. Let each person take a turn as DJ so everyone’s favorites get played.
- Get your garden on! Gardening, lawn mowing and yard work are a great way to get active outdoors. No yard? No problem. Try container gardening or a local community garden.
- Put the screens on hold. Instead of heading right for the TV or game console after dinner, make that family activity time. Take a walk, practice a sport, or play a game of tag or hide-and-seek.
- Be an active parent. Experts say that what kids want more than anything else is time with their parents. To give them that, don’t just send them out to play — go play with them!
- Get a kinder, gentler workout. Try mindful movement like yoga, tai chi or qi gong. These gentle mind-body practices may leave you less stressed and can be done just about anywhere.
- Stress is no excuse to skip your workout. Regular physical activity can help you manage stress, sleep better and have more energy.
- Tune into fitness during TV time. Walk or jog in place or on a treadmill, lift weights, or do yoga while you watch your favorite shows. Break up a TV binge with a 10-minute activity session between episodes. Or challenge the kids to see who can do the most burpees, pushups or jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
- Do what you love. Find activities that fit your personality and motivate you to stick with them. If you’re a social person, try a group dance class, a kickball team or walking with a group of friends. If you prefer time alone, yoga or running might be a better fit for you.
- Make active chore cards. Let each family member draw a card each day with a different active task that needs to be done. Cleaning up after dinner, walking the dog, taking the trash out, folding laundry and unloading the dishwasher are all good ways to get your family up off the couch – and get the chores done.
- Stay active when you travel. Don’t take a vacation from fitness. Instead of a bus tour, see the sights by walking or bicycling. If you’ll be spending a lot of time in an airport, walk while you wait! Throw a jump rope or resistance band in your suitcase. And take advantage of the hotel fitness center or swimming pool.
- Get active for a cause. If you live to help others, active community events like the Heart Walk are a great way to do something healthy while giving back. Some even offer fitness training, team opportunities and prizes!
- Change up date night. An evening out with your spouse or bestie doesn’t have to mean dinner and a movie. Keep a list of activities that would be fun to do together, like walking, bowling, miniature golf, dancing, indoor rock climbing, or hula hooping! Get creative – the possibilities are endless.
- Fit in walking. Being more active doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. You can walk just about anytime, anywhere, and every 10-minute session counts toward your goal of at least 150 minutes per week.
- Warm up to warming up. A proper warm-up (and cool-down) can help you improve flexibility and avoid injury. You’ll feel better after every workout and be more likely to stick with it.
- It’s a dog’s life. A dog can be a great walking or running companion. If you don’t have one of your own you could volunteer at a local shelter, help out a neighbor who is too busy to walk their dog, or start a dog-walking service!
- Do it anyway. Didn’t make it to the gym before it closed? Create your own circuit workout at home! No equipment needed, just a little willpower and creativity.
Copyright © 2018 American Heart Association, Healthy For GoodTM, heart.org/healthyforgood