Do you have an active family? Many Americans fall short on exercise, despite their best intentions. September 24 is Family Health & Fitness Day USA, which was created to promote family involvement in physical activity─one of the goals of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health. These tips can help:

Create the time

Making exercise a priority means carving out opportunities on a regular basis. Setting “family fitness appointments” can help busy parents, though all kids need to know is that it’s time for some active fun. If work/school weeks are hectic, zero in on weekends, when schedules tend to be more relaxed.

Power up with breakfast

Kids and adults alike need to launch their day with a healthy meal for all-day energy. Skipping meals and/or consuming simple, refined carbs can deplete your vitality. A protein-rich breakfast shake bolstered with green super foods sets a highly nutritious tone for the day─and improves your odds of being up for exercise later.

Make it fun

Active play is a natural love for most kids, and it’s contagious. Put your laptop aside and engage! You don’t need excessive structure, just grab your bikes, take a nature hike, throw a Frisbee, or simply play tag. Invite friends too. You’ll all enjoy frolicking together while everyone gets fit.

Give active gifts

Rather than a video game or similar toys, choose gifts that invite activity. Think skates, scooters, skateboards, tennis racquets, skis, or surfboards. Treating kids to 3-6 months of gymnastics, ballet or karate makes a great present too, which you can extend if they show they’re committed.

Opt for “fitness vacations”

Instead of another trip to Disneyland, how about a family vacation that involves hiking, tennis, horse-back riding, kayaking, or rock climbing? You may be surprised at how this thrills your kids, and you can all still grab some pool/lounge time along the way.

For some families, these hints call for a major shift, but the benefits are profound. Even starting to move in this direction can quickly improve happiness and wellbeing for everyone. Go for it!

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