Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY
Well, there are easy, creative ways to work physical activities into your family's life - and get the recommended 10,000 steps daily - while doing things that are so much fun you won't even notice you're exercising.
We asked exercise physiologists with the American College of Sports Medicine for their tried-and-true ways to get couch potatoes to add more movement to their day, and they offered these creative options. So strap on your pedometer and start counting your steps and improving your fitness.
-- Go on an active scavenger hunt. Plan a one- to two-hour hunt for the whole family. Be as creative as possible. Make a list of items to find in a nearby park, your home, the woods, the mall or the grocery store.
-- Give dance a chance. Have the family vote on a dance you can all learn. It might be a waltz, line dancing, the fox trot or hip-hop. Go to a dance class, get a DVD or see if there's a lesson on YouTube. Practice it for a week, then put on a show for each other at the end. Bring it alive with costumes. You'll be surprised how many steps you get on your pedometer with an hour of dancing.
-- Go retro active. Spend an hour every night for a week doing old-fashioned physical activities together. Consider Hula-Hooping and playing games such as hopscotch, Simon says, hide-and-seek or foursquare. Again, let the pedometer show you how active you've been.
-- Take an active staycation day. Plan a one-day, low-cost, active vacation day near your home. Go on a hike at a park or through a city you've always wanted to explore.
-- Make creative substitutions. Go to the zoo instead of the movies. Have a healthy picnic in the park instead of going to a restaurant. Take nightly family walks or bike rides after dinner instead of watching TV.
-- Take a family swimming lesson. It's active, fun and might make everyone stronger swimmers. You'll all sleep better, too.
-- Go fly a kite. It's loads of fun and can encourage lots of running. Have a contest for who can fly it the highest, the fastest or the most creatively.
-- Plan a play date. Go to a nearby park or playground and have everyone be a kid again. Climb on the monkey bars, slide down the slide, see how high and long you can glide on the swings.
-- Take exercise breaks. Have the kids take 10-minute exercise breaks (think jumping jacks, jump-rope, skipping) while doing their schoolwork. The added bonus: It will help them concentrate better.
-- Walk and talk. Need to open the lines of communication with a child? Get away from the distractions of the household for regular long walks. You may be surprised at how quickly the talk starts to flow.
-- Play in parallel. Parents can walk or jog while the kids have soccer, basketball or dance practice. Afterward, parents and kids can compare pedometer readings.
The challenge was designed with input from several national obesity and weight-loss experts to help families improve their fitness, weight and overall health. The series features practical tips and guidance from some of the experts.