For good health, kids should total up at least 60 minutes of physical activity, preferably every day (adults need at least 30 minutes). All kinds of activities count, so encourage kids to get moving by walking fast, running, dancing, jumping rope, riding bikes, skating, swimming, playing basketball and soccer—even climbing stairs.

As a parent and role model, you can do a lot to make physical activity a lifelong habit for your kids. Start by being physically active yourself and displaying a positive attitude showing that it's fun and feels good. Then, get active with your kids—it gives you more quality time with them, boosts your energy and helps you manage stress. Make family time active time with these ideas:

  • Get a step counter (pedometer) for each family member and see who can take the most steps each day. Health experts recommend 10,000 steps a day for adults and even more for kids. Don't worry if you or the kids are below that amount— just gradually up your daily steps until you reach your goal.
  • Head out for a family walk or bike ride after dinner.
  • Spend a weekend afternoon roller-skating or in-line skating.
  • Go on a family vacation that includes walking, hiking, swimming or biking.
  • Form a family team for a charity fun run, fun walk or car wash.
  • Play tag or jump rope.
  • Practice sports such as basketball, baseball or soccer with the kids.
  • Buy a family membership at the community recreation center, YMCA or health club. Schedule family trips there a few times each week.
  • Take a walking-friendly trip to the zoo or museum.
  • Let the kids teach you the latest dances, then teach them dances from "your day."
  • Build activity into special gatherings. Hold a scavenger hunt or play volleyball at the family picnic. Play touch football or lead a "turkey trot" (brisk walk) after Thanksgiving dinner.

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