The U.S. is one of the countries with the highest number of obese people in the world. What this means is that we aren't getting enough exercise. So here's an activity to inspire you and your family to set fitness goals and challenge yourself to exercise routinely. In "Exercise Across America", choose a fabulous family destination and "race" your way there. Get the entire family and close friends involved—the more competitors the better, as you race across America!
This activity is a great way to chart your family's progress and motivate them to keep up a healthy habit.
What You Need:
- One pedometer per person
- A map of the United States
- A notebook or chart to keep track of each person’s miles
- Pen and pencils
- Colored tacks to represent each family member
What You Do:
- Hang the map of the United States in a room that everyone has easy access to.
- Find your hometown on the map. This will be your starting point.
- Place the colored tacks on your hometown. Each colored tack should represent one member in the race.
- Establish a destination. Select another place in the United States where your family would want to go and mark it.
- Determine how many miles it would take to get there from your home. You can use an online directions website to help you determine the distance or simply guess a number. You can also have your child practice distance and proportion by using the map scale.
- Now establish an exercise routine that'll help each family member reach that destination. For example, maybe your family will decide to walk for 15 to 20 minutes each day. This routine can be something you do as a family, or something you can decide based on the person.
- Determine an end date. On this day, you will determine who the winner is. The end date can be as close or far away as your family wants. Maybe you want it to last a week or a month, for instance. Make sure you give yourselves a realistic time frame so that making it to your destination is possible.
- Using the pedometers and notebook or chart, have each member keep a record of how many miles he's walked. Don't forget to move the colored tacks accordingly. The appropriate colored tack should change positions on the map to reflect the distance covered by each member each day.
- Now start the race! When the end date comes around, the winner is the person that is the closest to the family destination.
Barbara Sweet has a Master's degree in Education and has taught Spanish in grades K-12, as well as a variety of undergraduate college courses. She is also the mother of a nine-year-old son.