Like many life habits, our relationship with exercise is often formed at a young age. Showing your kids that a healthy, active lifestyle is fun and rewarding both physically and mentally is key to forming a lifelong relationship with good health. So, how can you foster a culture of active health in your family?

Don’t worry, you don’t need a home gym or personal trainer to keep your family moving. Here are 8 tips to encourage your family to love exercise.

  1. Just get moving: Whether it’s a daily walk to the park or a trip to the local pool, any movement is a place to start. Find ways to integrate more activity into your daily schedule.
  2. Be enthusiastic – and sincere – about exercise: Children imitate what they see around them in the world. If they see you embracing exercise, they will be more likely to pick up active habits.
  3. Make a plan: Whether it’s a weekly bike ride to the farmer’s market or hike in your favorite open space, set a routine and follow through.
  4. Consider an app or fitness tracker: Adding a social game component to exercise has been shown to increase the regularity of physical activity. Tracking your walks and looking at where you went or using an app for fun new exercise ideas are great ways to keep family members engaged.
  5. Find a family-friendly gym: This doesn’t have to be traditional treadmills and free weights set up. Join a local YMCA or yoga studio and take dance, pilates, or Zumba classes as a family.
  6. Try an event that isn’t timed: It’s important to find joy even in non-competitive exercise. Consider a walk-a-thon or charity walk to give purpose to your practice.
  7. Don’t push your kids too hard: Parents can do wonders when it comes to encouraging their children, but your kids know when they’ve hit their limit. Let them pick the activities that excite them the most and let them know it’s okay to take breaks.
  8. Get creative: Exercise doesn’t have to be jogging or playing soccer. A simple game of tag, Marco polo, or “the floor is lava” gets the whole family moving without even thinking about it.

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