By Ryan Read, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Specialist in Performance Nutrition and Owner of Thrive Specialized Training

Families today are simply not moving like they used to. The proof is all around us.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health of too many North Americans is in danger because of unhealthy lifestyles.

If that isn’t enough, the CDC reports the percentage of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980.

So, what should parents do to get their kids moving more often?

Be an example

Kids with parents who take care of their bodies and participate in regular physical activity are more likely to have kids that make their own health a priority. Kids, especially younger children, naturally follow their parents. So, lead the way by making sure to set a good example.

Make exercise part of your family time

It’s not hard to find activities the whole family can do together, such as a daily walk or bike ride in the neighborhood. Invite your kids to join you during your favorite workout video. They may not be able to do all the exercises, but they will be moving and trying!

Let the groove make you move

Turn on the radio or pump up some fun songs on your mp3 player to rock out together as a family. Whether you’re jumping around or busting your favorite dance move, you can burn some calories and have fun all at the same time.

Encouragement goes a long way

One of the best things you can do is provide encouragement and support. Help your child find the sport or physical activity that best suits them and their strengths. When kids feel empowered and confident they’re more likely to continue with that activity or sport.

At the end of the day, when you’re fit, your body works well, feels good, and can do all the things you want to do, like run around with your friends. Don’t allow distractions, junk food and an overload of technology to cause problems for your kid. If not careful, they can escalate into diabetes, bone and joint issue or worse, heart disease.

No matter how you decide to get fit with your kids, make sure to make it a habit and keep it safe. By starting sooner rather than later, you will help influence your children to be active and eat right to stay healthy and live longer.