Originally published March 20, 2020 by the Florida International University News.

By Chrystian Tejedor

Getting a good workout might be a challenge when social distancing means having to skip the gym or P.E. class.

However, staying physically active is more important than ever before. The good news is there are plenty of opportunities for parents and children to stay active and fit according to Charmaine DeFrancesco, an associate professor of physical education in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

“Research shows that children who participate in physical activities typically remain active into adulthood,” DeFrancesco said. “This is a great time to build a quality foundation of healthy living.”

Stay social – virtually

People may need to maintain social distancing practices but thanks to technology, we don’t have to work out alone. DeFrancesco suggests asking the parents of your children’s friends to become part of your network. Begin a chat group to increase communication to talk about your activities and goals.

Goals and journals

With gyms and schools closed, it’s time to adjust long-term goals. DeFrancesco suggests starting by setting a daily goal of walking for 20 minutes.

Weekly or long-term goals may be harder to reach when a person feels tired, stressed or submerged in self-doubt. Take one day at a time — and the motivation to be active and healthy will develop naturally and become a part of your schedule.

Keeping a daily fitness journal is also a good way to allow everyone to practice their thinking and writing skills. Entries and pictures may serve as a personal reference that highlights accomplishments.

Have fun

If walking’s not an option, select online workout and movement videos and activities, like yoga, that are fun for you and especially the kids. Be sure they are challenging and push everyone slightly out of their comfort zone. Improvements in muscular strength, endurance and flexibility can be achieved by engaging in a number of activities that involve minimal funds, space and equipment.

Select a different video or film each day. There are countless activities that will increase your heart rate, burn fat, build muscle and get you into better overall physical condition, no matter what limitations are placed on us.

Be curious about health, fitness and stay positive

Write down two or three questions related to health, fitness, and sports performance each week and use information-appropriate resources found on the internet such as the web pages of personal trainers or books to determine the answers. Surprisingly, this will help kids (and everyone) commit more fully to understanding fitness and wellness concepts and prompt them to engage (or at least consider engaging) in health and fitness-related activities.

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    Keeping yourself and your family fit in the era of social distancing
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    Keeping yourself and your family fit in the era of social distancing
    Professor provides tips to stay active and healthy - both mentally and physically -- during social distancing.
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