By now we don't need anyone to tell us how important it is to make sure our kid's idea of physical fitness isn't dipping into a bag of chips while holding the remote control.
But here goes anyway: About one in three American kids are overweight or obese according to the American Heart Assiciation. The effects are far more than physical -- low self-esteem and depression often result. Also, inactive kids are likely to become inactive adults. And you know where that leads.
When it comes to the practicalities of a day, though, fitting in outdoor time or intensive sports or formal fitness activities can be challenging. We don't all have backyards or even the time to spend in them if we do.
The good news is, keeping your kids running, moving, doing some amount of physical exertion each day can be quick, easy, and even highly amusing for both of you.
Here are 5 ways to get the ball rolling in the right direction. (Pun, sort of, intended.)
1. Break out the stopwatch. If I say, "See how fast you can do it, I'll time you," to my kids, they will do almost anything from brushing their teeth to jumping jacks. Bonus points if I make it a friendly competition between the two if them. Whip out your phone timer and suggest anything from hula hooping to jumping rope.
2. Embrace the two-wheel commute. If it's logistically possible, and there's a place to leave and lock your kid's bike during the school day, cycling to and from drop off and pick up is the definition of multitasking.
3. Start a yoga practice together. All you need is a mat -- actually, you don't even really need one. If you already have a practice, take your kid through the poses you know a few times a week. If you don't, make a joint commitment to cycle through sun salutations side by side and end with a stress-reducing shavasana.
3. Try martial arts. If your kid isn't a team sports kind of kid, all martial arts -- Karate, Judo, Taekwando -- are fantastic to try because kids of any age or skill level can participate.
4. Dance Parties. Crank up a playlist while you're making dinner, while you're doing the dishes, before homework begins ... even a 10 minute exuberant dance off goes a long way. If you impress them with your own moves (and by impress, I mean embarrass) all the better!
What's your favorite way to keep your kids moving?
Image via Flickr/Mike Baird