Does your family get enough exercise? According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, only one in three children are physically active every day and less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. But you can change these numbers and improve your family’s health!

Regular physical activity can improve your family’s current and long-term health, and reduce the risk of developing health issues like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

During National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, check out these three tips to increase the physical activity level of everyone in your family:

1. Make exercise a family habit.
• Schedule time during the week to exercise together.
• Take a family walk around the block each night after dinner.
• Play upbeat music and dance your way through family chore times.
• Walk or bike to school together.
• Spend an afternoon at the local playground.
• Spend time together with a family park day, swim day, or bike day. Look for free and low-cost physical activity options near your home (parks, bike paths, hiking trails, or community swimming pools).
• Instead of going to a movie or restaurant for your next family outing or special occasion, plan a physical activity like a hike, round of mini golf or a game of Frisbee.

2. Set family fitness goals.
• Make getting in shape a family commitment and set exercise goals to help everyone stick to the fitness plan. How many steps can your family take in 30 minutes? Can your family get at least three 30-minute activity sessions in every week?
• Post your family goals on the refrigerator and keep track of the family’s progress.
• Train as a family for a charity walk or run.
• Get pedometers and have a contest to see who takes the most steps in a given week.

3. Monitor and reduce “screen time.”
• Put a two-hour limit on the time your kids spend watching TV, playing video games, using the computer or tablet or smartphone.
• Infants and toddlers under 2 years old should not watch TV at all.
• Don’t provide snacks or meals while watching TV. If possible, do some type of exercise while watching – during commercials, get everyone up and moving by running place, doing push-ups or jumping jacks.

Before starting regular physical activity, talk with your CPCMG pediatrician about your plans, especially if you have a child with medical problems.