Family Fitness Leads to Health

Children who exercise have less behavioral stress and risks for diseases

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Want to learn how to bring your family closer together all while improving health? Family exercise can do just that and be fun for the entire family. 

Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided some tips to help you start getting your family healthy today.

"Take a walk with your family, enjoy the moment."

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance study determined health-risk behaviors among children and young adults. Their results indicated that 77.7 percent of all teens were not meeting their fruit and vegetable needs. Almost 30 percent of teens were drinking a soda at least one time per day and 81.6 percent were not exercising for at least 60 minutes every day of the week.

It’s clear that kids aren’t meeting their nutrition or exercise requirements. But it’s really important that they do, Joann Donnelly, the director of Total Health for the YMCA of Greater Houston tells Faith and Fitness Magazine.

Children who exercise have less behavioral problems, stress, and risks for diseases.  Moreover, exercise can have positive effects on mood, sleep, energy, and increase bone and muscle strength. Exercise can lift people’s self-esteem and improve body image as well.

So how do you get your family to start moving and grooving? Make simple, step-wise changes; one change at a time, Jennifer Gruen, M.D., a pediatrician in Westport, Connecticut, says. Get crazy with it, don’t be afraid to get creative, Dr. Gruen adds.

Jim Crowell, fitness expert, suggests, “playing a sport that the entire family agrees on - that is if you’re lucky enough to enjoy the same sport. It will be fun for the adults and the kids will love competing to try and beat their mom or dad.”

Crowell continues, “If that doesn’t seem to be something your family would be interested in try a fitness program at a place where perhaps the parents are working out in a different class but in the same building. This will give them time before and after to be very much together and they will all get to work on the skills and fitness that is best suited for them. I've seen great success with both ways!”

Other suggestions include:

  • Take a family walk after dinner
  • Splitting up in teams to have a competition (speed walking or kickball)
  • Having a dance party – children love freeze dance
  • Try an exercise video
  • Wash the car
  • Take a yoga class – it can be good for physical and mental health

Even doing things as simple as running around the house, jumping rope, or even playing Simon Says can work, Dr. Gruen says. So start having some family fun today!

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 22, 2011
Last Updated:
September 24, 2011