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5 Ways to Get Your Family Moving

The trappings of modern American culture-TiVo/high-speed Internet/texting--make it a special challenge for families to stay fit and active. Unless you and the kids walk or bike to work or school, chances are good that you have trouble squeezing in as much daily physical activity as your family needs. Even when we have the time to exercise, it can be difficult to compete with the almost magnetic pull of our electronic devices and the couch.

It's not impossible to get your family moving. Even if no one in your group is particularly sporty or into fitness, there are creative and fun ways to sneak physical activity into our daily lives. The real beauty of becoming active as a family-aside from the significant health benefits-is the time you will get to spend together.

Benefits of Being Active as a Family

Why is it so important to get your family moving? Recent statistics estimate that two-thirds of people living in the United States are overweight or obese. Even more troubling; childhood obesity rates are on the rise, putting kids at risk for "adult" health problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and adult-onset diabetes.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that less than one-third of the nation's children between 6 and 17 years old are as active as they should be. Even for children who are not overweight, this is a significant problem. Kids and adults who are physically active reap many benefits in addition to maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Developing and maintaining self-esteem;
  • Improving flexibility and strength;
  • More energy;
  • Managing or reducing stress; and
  • Better sleep.