Getting active as a family is good for you and the kids

Family time is necessary time to build strong family bonds. However, as kids grow, and become more involved with various activities and sports, it's harder and harder to fit in that family time. Shared meals are an excellent source of family time. But physical activity and active play are also great ways to spend time together.

"Play is a magical time for kids and parents. It's a time when parents aren't thinking about other duties of the day and can spend one-on-one time with the child," shares physical education professor Steve Sanders. Active play helps children build cognitive, social, and

emotional health. It also helps children's problem solving, creativity and social skills while improving cardio and bone health. But the best outcomes of active family time is building strong bonds through the increased focus and attention.

Active play is not just good for kids. Parents and caregivers who engage in active play are generally more physically active themselves. This can reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve mental health and wellness. But sharing active play with your family isn't just an excellent way to get your heart pumping and burn calories. It's a great way to build family bonds.

A Family fitness challenge is a great way to get everyone in the household motivated to get active and spend time together. Centre Moves invites you to participate in the 5th Annual Fit Families Challenge where getting active wins you bragging rights and prizes. To participate, families – parents, grandparents, children, colleagues or friends – should register at, exercise at least 15 times for 15 minutes each between March 1 -31, and log workouts to be entered to win a variety of prizes.

Grand prize items, have been generously donated by area businesses, include a one-year Centre County YMCA family membership; half-day guided fly fishing trip for two, courtesy of American Fly Fishing Company; Hoss's Steak & Sea House gift cards; fitness kit courtesy of Community Engagement Office State College; one-month membership to Kinetik Fitness; four $25 gift certificates to Get Air; and more! Plus, those registered for Fit Families Challenge can sign up for a Centre County YMCA "Be Our Guest" pass for March.

Families who are physically active together are investing in more than just a healthy physical lifestyle. They are spending time together, talking, catching up on each other's days, and enjoying some fun, quality time together. Plus, families that engage in physical activities together are getting the regular exercise that is recommended, they are also are developing good patterns so that when kids get older, they know that exercise is an essential part of life.

Learn more about the Fit Families Challenge, review contest rules and a complete list of prizes at Questions can be emailed to Jump in, start small and get active!

Author: Jamie SanFilippo | Director of Community Outreach |YMCA of Centre County

The YMCA of Centre County is Centre Moves partner organization