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Wellness Checklist: Keep Your Family Active!

How can you help your family be more physically active and get enough exercise to stay healthy? Get up and move more as part of your everyday routine with the American Heart Association’s easy tips and hacks. Remember to follow social distancing guidelines during any activity, though!

Simple daily efforts and habits can infuse more activity into your life without taking up a lot of time you don’t have!

Here are the American Heart Association’s Top 24 tips to help you and your family be more active:

  1. Just move more! There are lots of fun and easy ways to build more activity into your everyday routine.
  2. Wear what you’ve got. You don’t need special clothing to simply get out and walk. A comfortable, supportive pair of shoes and a few basics will keep you ready to go.
  3. Work out while working. Add some healthy activity to your workday. Take walking breaks or walk and talk during your meetings, do some yoga or stretching during downtime.
  4. Schedule it. Having trouble making time for physical activity? Set an alarm on your phone or schedule it on your calendar – and treat it like any other important appointment.
  5. Be sweet to your feet. Keep your feet happy (along with your knees and legs) so you can move more without discomfort.
  6. Go mobile. Catching up on phone calls? Walk your talk – in your neighborhood. If you use a headset or earbuds make sure you can still hear traffic.
  7. Pick up the pace. When walking, running or cycling, increase your speed from leisurely to brisk or choose a route with more hills or inclines. Or alternate moderate and vigorous intensity. You’ll get a more intense workout in the same amount of time.
  8. Buddy up. Find a physical activity accountability partner and ask a friend to virtually hold you to your deadlines can also help you reach your fitness goals.
  9. Fitness first. Shake up your family’s routine. Join your kids for a bike ride or jump rope before starting on homework and chores. You’ll all feel better and think better!
  10. Timing is everything. If you find you’re better at sleeping in than making it to that morning workout, try getting active at a different time of day.
  11. Just dance. Clear some space, put on some music, and take a dance break! It can re-energize a work meeting, study session, lazy Sunday or game night. Let each person take a turn as DJ so everyone’s favorites get played.
  12. Get your garden on! Gardening, lawn mowing and yard work are a great way to get active outdoors. No yard? No problem. Try container gardening or a local community garden.
  13. Put the screens on hold. Instead of heading right for the TV or game console after dinner, make that family activity time. Take a walk, practice a sport, or play a game of tag or hide-and-seek.
  14. Be an active parent. Experts say that what kids want more than anything else is time with their parents. To give them that, don’t just send them out to play — go play with them!
  15. Get a kinder, gentler workout. Try mindful movement like yoga, tai chi or qi gong. These gentle mind-body practices may leave you less stressed and can be done just about anywhere.
  16. Stress is no excuse to skip your workout. Regular physical activity can help you manage stress, sleep better and have more energy.
  17. Tune into fitness during TV time. Walk or jog in place or on a treadmill, lift weights, or do yoga while you watch your favorite shows. Break up a TV binge with a bit of activity between episodes. Or challenge the kids to see who can do the most burpees, pushups or jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
  18. Do what you love. Find activities that fit your personality and motivate you to stick with them. If you’re a social person, try joining a virtual exercise class or calling up a friend to workout together. If you prefer time alone, yoga or running might be a better fit for you.
  19. Get active for a cause. If you live to help others, active community events like the Heart Walk are a great way to do something healthy while giving back. Some even offer fitness training, team opportunities and prizes!
  20. Change date night. An evening out with your spouse or bestie doesn’t have to mean dinner and a movie. Keep a list of activities that would be fun to do together, like walking, bowling, miniature golf, dancing, indoor rock climbing, or hula hooping! Get creative – the possibilities are endless.
  21. Fit in walking. Being more active doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. You can walk just about anytime, anywhere, and every minute counts toward your goal of at least 150 minutes per week.
  22. Warm up to warming up. A proper warm-up (and cool-down)  can help you improve flexibility and avoid injury. You’ll feel better after every workout and be more likely to stick with it.
  23. It’s a dog’s life. A dog can be a great walking or running companion.
  24. Move anywhere. Create your own circuit workout at home! No equipment needed, just a little willpower and creativity.

To learn more, visit http://heart.org/healthyforgood.

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