After the cooler, shorter days of winter, some families have fallen into the bad habit of camping on the couch while streaming shows on Netflix. We also are willing to bet that popcorn is involved.

If you haven’t already noticed, the days are getting longer and before you know it, spring will be here in all of it’s warm and bright glory. So the time is upon you to peel yourself and your family off the couch and get some much-needed exercise.

By encouraging your children to exercise, you help them maintain a healthy weight and help them maintain a strong immune system. And those are just two of the many benefits that come with regular exercise. Like adults, children need to be physically active to stay healthy. Unfortunately, reports show that less than half of teens are adequately fit. Unfit teens are at risk for chronic diseases in the future.

You can help buck this trend by encouraging your children to exercise when they are at a young age. Kids under the age of six should be jumping, running and skipping their way to optimal health. Kids older than six should be getting intense workouts that raise their heart rates for at least an hour a day, five days a week.

River Valley Pediatrics and your New Braunfels pediatrician share these tips to help get your kids to sit less and move more.

Walk Or Bike Wherever You Can

Leave the car at home in the garage at every opportunity. If the weather is fine, walk or take the bikes to the store, to school or to run a few errands. You can also go for a short walk through the park after school or after dinner. Have your children wear a sports watch or use an app to track steps and distance. Use a log at home to track everybody’s progress and to remind them of their great effort and accomplishments.

Sing And Dance At Every Chance

Do chores together as a family and crank up some catchy tunes to get into the groove and start moving. Wiping down the dining room table and mopping the kitchen floor is more enjoyed with music in the background and a dance move in your steps. Have the kids pick up their toys to the beat of the music.

Get Some Workout Videos

Get some workout videos that are geared towards kids and participate with them. As the children get older, swap out the Hip Hop for Kids DVD for the Jillian Michaels DVD.

Get Some Equipment

Invest in a few workout items like some resistance bands, a jump rope or two and a yoga mat. You might also wish to buy a variety of dumbbells. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive, just a few things that will come in handy when the weather is bad or you are otherwise stuck in the house.

Take The Kids To The Playground

Playgrounds are basically outdoor gyms. There are many fun things to do at the playground and every one of them is a challenge and an exercise for kids. Kids will get their heart rates up running from activity to activity, build muscle on the monkey bars and pump their arms on the swings. And they will have a blast in the process of getting healthy.

Plan Some Fun Activities

Instead of taking your children to the movies or out to dinner, take them to the roller rink or the public pool. If you stop and give it some thought, there are plenty of places you can take your children where they can get a good workout and have fun all at the same time. You can even take them on a picnic, just remember to bring along a Frisbee or other items that encourage exercise and movement.

Take Classes Together

Check the internet and community centers for aerobics or yoga classes that kids can attend with their parents. In fact, find a yoga class or other type of exercise class that the whole family can participate in together.

It really does not matter how you get your kids to exercise, just as long as they are getting regular workouts every week. You can call River Valley Pediatrics with questions about exercise and other health issues.