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On the Move

Get your kids to move more

Physical activity is an important part of keeping children healthy. Among many other benefits, moving more:

  • Helps naturally control weight
  • Boosts muscle strength
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Increases a positive mood
  • Prevents heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Helps manage stress
  • Improves self-image

Plus, habits learned in childhood are more likely to stay with the child into adulthood. So encouraging a healthy lifestyle and physical activity now will help as your kid or teen grows older.

Make fitness fun

Work with your children to plan physical activities. And then join in and make fitness time a family affair. Need ideas for activities? Try these:

  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Rollerblading or roller skating
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing on the playground
  • Dancing
  • Gymnastics
  • Hiking
  • Soccer
  • Tag games

Encourage your children to drink water during and after physical activity to stay hydrated.

Have questions? Talk with your children’s health care provider about any new physical activity plans to help your child make the healthiest choices.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, Promoting Physical Activity as a Way of Life, President's Council on Fitness, American Heart Association

The right amount of physical activity

Children and teens need at least 60 minutes of medium to vigorous physical activity on most days. Limiting their screen time—TV, video and computers—to less than two hours a day will help them fit in fitness.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Heart-racing activities

Let your children help with the yard work, like raking, weeding and planting. Older kids can also walk the dog or mow the lawn. They will get their blood pumping, and you will get some help around the house!

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics. American Heart Association

Get involved

Playing sports is a great way for kids to have fun and get daily physical activity. Sports also help them learn about teamwork and fairness. In addition, young athletes develop stronger bones and muscles and watch less TV.

Sources: The Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Corporation for National & Community Service, National Council of Youth Sports

Here is useful advice about how you can help your teen learn more about healthy living: