Better Fitness For Your Family

If your children are younger in a day care, make sure the day-care provider includes outdoor activity in her schedule, Gatto suggested.

After work is a good time for the entire family to get exercise. Anyone who has been at work at a computer all day needs to exercise anyway, Gatto said.

The possibilities are endless. A key is to ask your kids what they want to do.

"The kids think it's play," Gatto said. "That's where we want to be as adults. We want to have fun and enjoy it. If you enjoy it, you'll keep at it."

It can be a different activity each day. Go for a walk, go Rollerblading or bike riding in your neighborhood, your local park or trail.

"I'll walk and Tyler (her 10-year-old son) will grab his scooter or skateboard," Gatto said. "We're both being active and having fun."

Playing catch, shooting hoops, hitting the tennis ball or taking swings at a softball or baseball may work for some families. For others, it may be swimming or just playing in the water, playing badminton or bocci.

"Find inexpensive equipment and keep it accessible," Gatto said.

Richards, 42, is a runner and Tyler, 14, and Brie, 10, are swimmers. But they still play outside.

"There are some things we do because we just love doing them," Richards said. "I want to make sure our kids are fit for a lifetime so we need to find them things that they will do their whole life."

The kids have grown up with the concept so physical play comes naturally to them.

"I just like it," said Tyler, who enjoys walking and playing basketball with his father, Mark Hines. "It's more fun than being inside."

Brie enjoys croquet.

"We get kind of competitive but it's fun at the same time," she said with a smile. "We have a lot of giggles when someone knocks you out."

Even when Brie's fun is more physically demanding, she enjoys it. When she runs with her mom, they both listen to music and sometimes find themselves singing along.

"It's still fun but I can't laugh too hard because I'll get stomach cramps," Brie said.

Family activities outside are everything from gardening in the back yard, playing with Oliver, riding bikes and scooters, playing croquet, setting up an obstacle course on their Wintergreen Subdivision parkway, running up and down the hill at nearby Prairieland Elementary School, even riding bikes or walking to school.

Richards said, "When you're outside, you can come up with almost anything.

"Make it fun. Be creative. Go somewhere else (such as a different park)."

"As parents, we need to be active participants and succeed and fail on our own," she said. "When we stay fit for life, so will our kids."

There's another benefit to being active together.

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