Experts agree that health benefits result from moderate physical activity on a regular basis. However, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health reveals that the majority of Americans are not getting enough exercise. This is especially true of children between the ages of 12 and 21.
To encourage family fitness, the Health Information Resource Center has designated September 24, 2016, as Family Health & Fitness Day USA. At locations around the country, families will participate in fitness events and activities, including exercise demonstrations and health fairs, at community sites such as hospitals, health clubs, YMCAs and schools.
To get a head start, here are some tips for getting fit with your family this fall:
- Make the most of weekends. Pick at least one fitness activity to do per weekend as a family. Make this a priority so other social engagements don’t crowd out family fitness time.
- Try outdoor activities. With the weather cooling down, fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature. Try hiking in the woods, biking in the park or walking the family dog. Younger children may also enjoy playing in corn mazes and building leaf piles. Involving kids in yard work and gardening projects is a good way to burn calories and get things done outside. Remember to provide enough water and healthy snacks to keep everyone happy.
- Minimize screen time. Set limits on time spent watching TV and playing video games, encouraging a good balance between sedentary and physical activities. Keeping televisions and personal electronic devices out of your child’s room will make it easier for you to monitor screen time and encourage healthy technology usage.
- Turn TV commercials into fitness breaks. During commercials, encourage kids to do squats, push-ups or jumping jacks until the show comes back on. Create silly names for these simple exercises to make them sound fun and appealing. Younger children may enjoy activities such as wiggling, clapping and marching.
- Take fitness classes together. Some gyms and community centers offer aerobics or yoga classes designed to include parents and their children.
- Skip shortcuts in everyday life. When running errands, choose physical activity over convenience. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away from the store entrance instead of trying to find the closest parking spot. If possible, walk or bike to your destination rather than driving.
Remember, it’s important that kids get at least 60 minutes of daily activity to maintain a healthy weight. By setting the example, active parents can encourage children to develop good health and fitness habits that will last a lifetime.
- Bright Horizons
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Family Health & Fitness Day
To learn more about family health and wellness support, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.