Family health: How to ditch the screen time for fun fitness activities

It’s not easy competing against screens for your kid’s attention. Smart phones, tablets, game consoles, giant TVs — they’re everywhere!

According to Influence-Central.com, a tech-advocacy startup that uses data to connect social influencers with brands :

  • 64 percent of kids today have internet access via their own smartphone or tablet, up from 42 percent in 2012.
  • Fifty percent of kids have social-media accounts by the time they’re 12.

There’s no denying these handhelds are a godsend for road trips, appointment waiting rooms and jaunts to the grocer here and there.

But they don’t exactly encourage healthy habits. And when it comes to quality family time? They’re such a downer. 

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So next time you plan a family fun night, maybe edge away from the typical movie night. Maybe even skip the board games.

Opt instead for a fitness day (or night) full of fun activities. If not for the health benefits, then for the sake of giving your poor eyes a break from LED screens, and stretching the limbs a bit.

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The Associated Press’ Kelli Kennedy interviewed three celebrity moms who do just that. Brooke Burke-Charvet, former “Dancing with the Stars” co-host; Hilaria Baldwin, author of “The Living Clearly Method” and wife to Alec Baldwin; and Erika Boom, owner of fitness-apparel brand “Fit Mama,” dished all their tips for encouraging family exercise.

Fun family activities that encourage exercise

Tip 1: Lead by example

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“Leading by example has been the most valuable lesson for family fitness,” Brooke says. This strong mama enjoys booty-burning classes, hot yoga and spin sessions with her husband, she said.

For Erika, it can be as simple as bringing the kids to watch your class one day. Then at home, ask them if they want to try one of the moves.

Tip 2: use your local resources

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Brooke, her husband and her children (ages 9 to 17) have grown up running at the nearby Pepperdine University track field. Do you have a local baseball field or swimming pool that could used? You won’t know if you don’t check.

Tip 3: Ask your local gym about family memberships

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Sometimes enrolling as a family is more affordable than individually. Community centers also sometimes offer more-affordable options compared to mainstream gyms.

Sometimes gyms have kid-friendly trainers who could do family-exercise sessions. But you usually have to ask.

Tip 4: Enroll in a class 

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It may not necessarily be the sassy booty-burning class, but maybe it’s a kickboxing class or spin class. Ask your kids what they’d be open to.

Tip 5: Join your kids at the playground

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It’s difficult to carve out and devote time specifically for exercise, Hilaria said. So next time your kids are crawling through a jungle gym or swinging on monkey bars, join them! It’s probably more tiring than you think.

Tip 6: Opt for short, quick exercises at home

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Jumping on the trampoline and playing ‘airplane’ with your kids are a few simple options, but you could also create relay races around the home! This is cheap AND fun. You could also make a habit of climbing the stairs 5-10 times each morning or night.

There are opportunities for exercise everywhere if you’re willing to get creative!

Tip 7: Get some fresh air

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It can be an expensive investment, but purchasing bikes for the family is a great way to get out and enjoy nature while being with the family, too.

Some cities even have bike-rental options for a daily fee. Check your city’s website.

This story was adapted from an AP article by Kelli Kennedy.

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