Active Families Encourage Active Kids

January 2016 By: Wendy Palmer, MS, RDN, LD, CHES Registered Dietitian, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
family playing football in park
All Ages

When you think about being active, is it something you think of as fun … or do you force yourself to lace up your running shoes, grumbling all the way?

Turns out “exercising” can backfire if you aren’t having fun. A recent study out of Cornell University says that when physical activity is perceived as fun, people consume fewer sweets and unhealthy snacks. But when the activity is viewed as a chore, they treat themselves with unhealthy snacks.

At Strong4Life, we don’t tell our families to exercise—we encourage them to get moving! Let’s face it, it sounds difficult when you “schedule exercise.” But if you’re having a blast being active, chances are you’ll keep doing it!

So how can you up the fun factor for your family when it comes to being active? It’s easier than you think! Here are a few of my favorite ways to get our family moving:

Go play. Our family gets in plenty of physical activity every day, but we don’t call it exercise! Instead, we get outside and play—tag, hide and seek, superheroes getting the bad guys, bike rides—fun kids’ activities that keep them moving. We have two energetic young boys at home, and it’s important that they get plenty of physical activity. We make sure they have loads of fun while being active, which makes getting off the couch and getting moving easier!

Motivate by modeling. As parents, we have a great opportunity to be role models and promote exercise in a positive way to our kids. It’s much easier to convince kids to get moving if they see us being active—and enjoying it! Trade the remote for running shoes, talk up the fun and get outside with your kids!

Fun is a family affair! Being active together is great family time! In Georgia, we’re lucky to have so many parks, hiking trails and other great outdoor places to get moving. If you don’t have time for a big outing, you can create lots of fun family activities at home with outdoor toys and games. Try a game of family freeze tag or have a friendly hopscotch competition—being active as a family also creates great memories!

Some is better than none! Forget the notion that you must block out a chunk of time for an intense workout. Short bursts of activity are perfect, and easier to fit into busy schedules. Race the kids to the mailbox and back a few times, go outside and jump rope before dinner, or walk to the bus stop instead of driving. Every little bit of movement counts!

Injecting physical activity we enjoy into our days is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Start finding ways to make getting moving a blast today at Strong4Life.com!

family playing football in park

About The Author

Wendy Palmer, MS, RDN, LD, CHES
Registered Dietitian, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Wendy Palmer has been a member of the Strong4Life team since 2011. As a registered dietitian and manager of child wellness, Wendy has been instrumental in the development of many of Strong4Life’s initiatives aiming to impact child wellness in Georgia.

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Wendy Palmer, MS, RDN, LD, CHES
Registered Dietitian, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta


Wendy Palmer has been a member of the Strong4Life team since 2011. As a registered dietitian and manager of child wellness, Wendy has been instrumental in the development of many of Strong4Life’s initiatives aiming to impact child wellness in Georgia. 

As a mom to Caden (age 7) and Kellen (age 5), Wendy’s biggest parenting challenge is that her youngest son is a carbohydrate addict. He prefers bread, cereal, crackers, waffles, pancakes—you name it! Even though her oldest son eats veggies and fruits happily, it’s a daily battle to get Kellen to eat his veggies.

She received a Master of Science in health care policy and management and completed a dietetic internship at Stony Brook University in 2005. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Ithaca College in community health education in 2003.

Wendy lives in Dacula, Georgia, with her husband, two sons and three dogs. When she is not working, she enjoys running, cooking and spending time being active with her kids.