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Use games, sports to make kids more fit

WINSTON-SALEM, N.Y., Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Parents' New Year's fitness resolutions may be more successful and more fun if they include the children, a North Carolina researcher says.

Michael Berry, chairman of the health and exercise science department at the Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., said fitness with the kids must include more than a predictable schedule.

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"You must engage the kids and even make exercise a little unusual to get them excited about working out," Berry said in a statement. "Kids like to play games, they like to be engaged, so exercise needs to be something that is sports-oriented or game-oriented."

Children need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity, including muscle-strengthening exercises and with that goal in mind, Berry suggests:

-- Start the habit of a daily walk. Start by walking to look at holiday lights.

-- Have children walk to school.

-- Replace pizza and a movie night with family fitness night at least once a month.

-- Check out fitness attractions such as a rock-climbing gym or a trampoline place.

-- Make a fitness wish list with the kids and let them choose at least twice a month.

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-- Play like a kid, a half-hour of tag or kickball is good exercise.

-- If you have a game system, use it to make it a family competition.

-- Go to a park or nature preserve and take a hike.

-- Make dining out or after-dinner treats a physical activity, walk to the restaurant.

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