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Take 12 Steps for Health

Take 12 Calendar


February 2017

Step 2: Be an Active Family

Starting is the hardest part when it comes to being physically active. Encourage your family members to be more active by bumping up the time, frequency or duration of their workouts.

Making Healthy Strides


Take your workouts to the next level. Strive to push yourself harder in each session for increased health benefits.

Take turns planning the physical activities for the week, so everyone gets a chance to choose something they enjoy, and share it with the family.


Physical activity is good for people of all ages. However, there are different guidelines for different age groups. It is recommended that children, ages 6-17, get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and some vigorous-intensity activity every day. These activities can include walking, running, biking, or playing sports. Make sure to include strength-training activities on 3 or more days. It is also important to include bone-strengthening activities at least three days per week because children are still growing and developing their muscles. These activities include jumping rope or running. Encourage your child to be physically active by being involved with them; go out for a run with them or ride bikes around the neighborhood.

Adults, ages 18-64, should get 150-minutes of cardiovascular activity per week. This can be broken up into smaller chunks, such as 30-40 minutes a day 5 days a week. The higher the aerobic intensity of the workout, the less time you need to spend performing it because you will get the benefits faster. Strength training exercises should be done at least twice a week with a day of rest in between. Major muscles groups like legs, abdomen, chest, arms, and shoulders, should be worked during muscle-strengthening activities.

Older adults who are over 65 should also get 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity per week and muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days a week working all major muscle groups. It is important to be mindful of ability to avoid injury so to avoid muscle strains and tears do not lift too much.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Physical Activity Basics, How much physical activity do you need?"

Good Indoor Workouts

During winter months the weather is not always encouraging of outdoor activity. No need to fret, there are many indoor workout alternatives that can be done with little to no equipment that will give you the same intensity of an outdoor workout.

  • Jumping Jacks: A simple and basic exercise that is great for getting your heart rate up. You can add some variety by including cross jacks or using dumbbells to add some muscle toning to the exercise.
  • Stairs: If your home or apartment has stairs, take advantage of them and get your heart pumping! Run, hop, or just walk up and down, there are many fitness uses for stairs.
  • Dancing: Turn on your favorite tunes and bust a move! Dancing is a great way to work up a sweat and can be a lot of fun. Challenge your family to see who has the best moves or do a coordinated routine.
  • Tricep Dips: Grab a chair, rest your palms on it, and raise and lower yourself. This is a simple exercise to get toned and defined arms. Make it a family competition and see who can do the most reps!
  • Squats: This simple yet effective exercise can be toughened by adding jumps, changing styles, like plie squats, or squat pulses. Your quadriceps will definitely be feeling it the next day!
  • Lunges: This exercise is great for glutes and quadriceps. Add some challenge by adding an overhead press or lunge pulses.
  • Push-Ups: These are a great overall body workout. Set the family goal that everyone can do the same number of push-ups at the end of the month. Add a challenge by placing your hand in a diamond shape.

Source: Popsugar, "End Your Running Rut With These Indoor Cardio Alternatives!"

Finding the Right Activity for Inactive Kids

Sitting on the couch and watching TV can be more appealing to kids than playing outside. However, it is important to teach kids, from a young age, that being physically active is fun and necessary. There are three key things to remember when teaching your kids about physical activity:

  1. Choose age-appropriate activities: Activities that are too easy or difficult can leave your child frustrated. Encourage them to be vocal with how they feel about the activity so you are aware and can adjust for next time.
  2. Expose kids to many physical activities: Take your kids to walk the dog with you, take time after dinner to go to the playground, have family swimming nights in the summer. The more activities kids are exposed to, the more likely they are to find what they like and stick to it.  
  3. Focus on fun: When fun is the goal of the activity, kids are more likely to engage and want to participate. If your kids are competitive, add some competition between their siblings or even you as the parent. Tailor the activity so your kids are enjoying themselves as much as possible sothat they don’t miss the couch and TV.  

Exercise for Life Starts in Youth

Building healthy habits starts at a young age, which goes for physical activity as well. Starting kids off at a young age increases the likelihood that they will continue to exercise throughout their lives, not to mention that it will become a habit. There are many benefits to getting kids in the habit of working out at a young age, including improved concentration, memory, and classroom behavior which will help them in their education. Also, it reduces the risk of developing obesity and other risk factors related to chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Build exercise habits within the family; take family walks or incorporate physical activity into weekly chores. Show kids the fun in exercise so they may carry on the love of exercise.

Source: Healthline, "Youth Fitness: Exercise Helps Children Excel in School"

Get Info for the 50+ Crowd at the Park Authority’s 50+ Web Portal

50+ Connect, Engage, Play The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a website specifically for residents age 50 or older. The 50+ Engage-Connect-Play portal provides one-stop shopping for information on Fitness & Wellness, Arts & Learning, Gardening & Adventure, Giving Back, and more that’s geared toward Baby Boomers and active seniors.

Staying active and staying connected are key to good health and happiness at any age, and the Park Authority is making it easier for older residents to find new ways to engage as family and work demands change. In Fairfax County, 23.2 percent of households include adults who are 65+, and this group represents 11.5 percent of the county’s total population.

Go to Fairfax County Park Authority - Fifty Plus to see which of the thousands of Park Authority classes are most popular among Baby Boomers and the 70+ crowd. Find out about concerts, fairs, festivals and other park events that appeal to older residents. Book a tee time at a golf course, register for an art or gardening program, or find activities to entertain the grandchildren. Visitors to the site can also explore ways to give back to their community through paid and volunteer opportunities in the parks.

This initiative is part of the larger, countywide effort aimed at addressing the needs of a rapidly aging population in Fairfax County. U.S. Census figures show that there is a net in-migration to Fairfax County of persons age 85+. Among Fairfax County residents age 80 or older, 47.5 percent have one or more of the following: serious difficulty with walking and/or climbing stairs, difficulty dressing and/or bathing, or a cognitive disability.


Fairfax County Park Authority Take 12 Sponsors
Take 12 Steps for Family Health
Take 12 Steps for Your Health in 2017 Calendar

Download Your

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!

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Download the Take 12 Pledge


Take 12 Newsletter

2017 Healthy Strides Community 5k/10K, Burke Lake Park, April 22, 2017
2017 Healthy Strides Community Expo, SpringFest, April 30, 2017

We are seeking support from local businesses and organizations for Take 12! Steps for Community Health in 2015. Our participants are the same people your business is looking to attract. Take advantage of this opportunity.


Achievement Award Winner

Healthy Strides Race and Expo are
2015 NACo Award Winners


Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.

All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email


We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at


Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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