Claudann Jones

There is no better time than now for the whole family to create healthy lifestyle habits.

Physical activity is important for children and adults of all ages. We know it burns off energy for our kids, which allows them to concentrate a little bit better, but being active as a family can benefit everyone. Adults need 2 1/2 hours a week of physical activity, and children need 60 minutes a day. Consider these tips to add physical activity to you and your family's busy schedule:

• Determine time slots throughout the week when the whole family is available. Try doing something active after dinner or begin the weekend with a Saturday morning walk.

• Write your activity plans on a family calendar. Let the kids help in planning the activities. Allow them to check it off after completing each activity.

• Choose some activities that do not depend on the weather conditions. Try mall walking, indoor swimming or active video games.

• Involve the kids in yard work and other active chores around the house. Have them help you with raking, weeding, planting or vacuuming.

• Set a rule that no one can spend longer than two hours per day playing video games, watching TV and using the computer.

• Begin by introducing one new family activity and add more when you feel everyone is ready. Take the dog for a longer walk, play another ball game or go to an additional exercise class.

For more information on health and wellness, contact Claudann Jones, Smith County Extension agent for Family and Community Health at 903-590-2980, or email at

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