United Healthcare Activate for Kids

School Wellness Initiative

Role Model Physical Activity

Before embarking on my Masters studies, I worked as a personal trainer (had my own company), bootcamp instructor, and exercise specialist at a cardiac rehabilitation facility. Needless to say, I have received numerous questions regarding what exercises are the best, how many times per week to work out, and what to eat. However, it is very rare that I receive a question regarding family activities (i.e. how to be active with your child/children). I recently read an article that discussed the way we should change our perception of family time; instead of screen time, bring out a board game or take a walk together.

Healthy People 2020 uses the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to establish physical activity recommendations for adults and children. Current guidelines are 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day for children, and a minimum of 30 minutes per day, five days a week, for adults. Examples of activities are running, biking, jumping rope, and other aerobic exercise. Adults often accomplish this by going to the gym once a day. As a result, we frequently exercise when our children are not watching. Once we are home we might tell them to go ride their bike or go running/walking/playing outside while we prepare dinner (or search the web).

My point is, we often miss the opportunity to act as role models, which can turn into a “do what I say, not what I do” situation. Why not go outside together? There are so many things we can do with our children:
  • Ride your bikes together (or if you have a smaller child, walk/jog next to the bike)
  • Go explore nearby trails or other wooded areas
    • Look for animals such as birds, deer, and reptiles
    • With smaller children, you can play games where you look for monkeys, bears, lions, etc.
    • Bring your bikes/scooters/skateboards to the trail (please review park rules ahead of time to make sure you are allowed to ride your vehicle on the trail)
  • Grab a ball and go to a nearby field. You can do organized play or just kick/throw the ball around
  • Be a kid again! If you have a trampoline, bouncy house, or other fun equipment, jump around with your kids
The above examples are just a few of the fun activities you can do together. As Melodie discussed in a previous blog post, our children love to play with us. So, next time you tell your child to go ride his or her bike, ask if they want you to go with them! Just be sure to wear a helmet…

Have Fun!

Posted: February 05, 2013 by Melodie Griffin

Melodie Griffin

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