Everyday Ideas to Increase Physical Activity

Encourage every member of your family to increase daily physical activity and have fun at the same time.

Here are some suggestions to consider.

Make time

  • Identify available time slots. Monitor your daily activities for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity. Then, identify two of them that work as family activity time.
  • Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, organize school activities around physical activity, walk the dog with your children, exercise while you watch TV, park farther away from your destination.
  • Make time for physical activity. For example, walk, jog, or swim during your lunch hour, or take fitness breaks instead of coffee breaks. Try doing something active after dinner with your family, especially on weekends.
  • Select activities requiring minimal time, such as walking, jogging, or stair climbing.

Bring others into it

  • Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family. Ask them to support your efforts.
  • Invite friends and family to exercise with you. Plan social activities involving exercise. Plan a party with physically active games and activities for your family and your children’s friends.
  • Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a group, such as the YMCA or a hiking club.

Energize yourself

  • Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel energetic.
  • Convince yourself that if you give it a chance, physical activity will increase your energy level; then try it.

Stay motivated

  • Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your family’s daily or weekly schedule and write it on a family activity calendar.
  • Invite a friend or family member to exercise with you on a regular basis and write it on both your calendars.
  • Join an exercise group or class. Enroll your children in community sports teams or lessons.
  • Select activities requiring no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
  • Exercise with friends who are at the same skill level as you are. Create opportunities for your children to be active with friends.

Build new skills

  • Find a friend who is willing to teach you some new skills.
  • Take a class to develop new skills and enroll your children in classes too, such as swimming, gymnastics, or tennis.

Use available resources

  • Select activities that require minimal facilities or equipment, such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, or stretching and strengthening movements.
  • Identify inexpensive, convenient resources available in your community, such as community education programs, park and recreation programs, and worksite programs.

Make the most of all conditions

  • Develop a set of regular activities for you and your family that are always available regardless of weather, such as indoor cycling, aerobic dance, indoor swimming, stretching and strengthening movements, stair climbing, rope skipping, mall walking, dancing, and gymnasium games.
  • Look at outdoor activities that depend on weather conditions, such as cross-country skiing, outdoor swimming, and outdoor tennis as “bonuses”—extra activities possible when weather and circumstances permit.