NEW YORK — Forget staying at home – nearly four in five parents would rather catch up with their family while doing a physical activity together (78%). It might be the best way to get kids to exercise more, according to a new poll, considering the average child isn’t even spending an hour a day being active.
The survey of 2,000 parents with kids under 18 finds that parents really do have the most fun when they get to spend time with their kids (83%). Moreover, a whopping 89 percent like to be active with their kids by playing sports or spending time outside. According to the survey, parents’ favorite physical activities to do with their kids are playing basketball (36%), dance (34%), and swim lessons (32%).
Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with Life Time, the survey shows that four in five parents want to inspire their kids to try more physical activities throughout their lives. While the average respondent thinks that it’s best to introduce kids to more physical activities around the age of 7, a third of parents think it’s important to do so even earlier.
Spending more time outside may also be the answer for the 76 percent of parents who are looking for new ways to connect with their kids. Half of parents think it’s difficult for their kids to enjoy an activity without getting bored (51%), but 73 percent say their child is fearless when it comes to trying something new.
They won’t have to do it alone, since 79 percent of parents are willing to try a new activity alongside their kids.
“Pickleball, swimming, group exercise classes – the list of healthy activities parents can enjoy with their children is virtually limitless,” says Alicia Kockler, senior vice president of kids and aquatics for Life Time, in a statement. “Teaching our kids about the benefits of an active lifestyle is so important, and exploring new ways to play together creates memories that will last a lifetime.”
Most parents add that seeing their kids being active inspires them to get active as well (78%). A fifth of parents would rate the physical health of their kids as “average,” “poor,” or “very poor” (22%), which may be why nearly two-thirds of respondents wish their kids were more active than they already are (64%).
On average, parents estimate that their kids spend less than an hour a day being active, with nearly half sharing that their kids are less active than this. Thirty percent shared that their kids are more active during the summer than during the school year.
However, 38 percent think their kids are just as active when school starts up and seven in 10 say the beginning of the school year is a good time to make healthy lifestyle changes (71%).
“The start of a new school year is a great time to develop new family routines,” Kockler says. “We suggest designating one or two nights a week when the whole family participates in a fun activity together – like basketball or a family swim at an indoor pool. Families that spend more active time together, and less time staring at screens, tend to be happier and much healthier.”