Raising Fit Kids

It helps to start early, but you can make changes later too.

Family biking together
Bob Winsett / Photolibrary / Getty Images

There's no one, surefire route to raising fit kids. But luckily, that also means you don't need to squeeze your unique family into a one-size-fits-all pair of running shoes. Instead, find the style that works for you—and run with it.

Start with the Basics

Your environment—whether you live in a city apartment, a rural farmhouse, or something in between—can affect your family's fitness significantly. But each offers its own opportunities for activity and fun for fit kids (or not-yet-fit kids).

So, too, does your family residence. Here again, size doesn't matter. There are other ways to create a healthy family home, and to make fitness and healthy living a priority.

Share Fitness with Your Kids

One of the best ways to make sure everyone in the family is active and healthy is to share physical activities. It's quality time of the highest order! Try these family fitness ideas, or these age-by-age suggestions for kids from babies through teens.

If you have a sport or active hobby that you enjoy, by all means share it with your kids. It will become part of the special fabric of your family life. See advice from other families on how they've brought up their kids to love running, swimming, hiking, and biking. You can even use your shared participation in these activities to raise money for your favorite causes, or spend time volunteering together outside.

Succeed Through Sports

Sports kids tend to be fit kids. So helping your child find a sport she enjoys is a gift that can offer lifelong benefits. And yes, you can do this even if your child doesn't like sports, or has special needs that might seem to limit his options, or if you yourself aren't athletic at all!

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