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Make Family Time an Active Time

09/11/2013
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SOURCE: USDA

PLAY HARD YOUR WAY

The benefits of physical activity include:

  • Increases fitness levels and keeps the heart and lungs healthy.
  • Builds and maintains healthy bones.
  • Helps control weight to decrease the risk of many diseases.
  • Boosts energy and promotes sound sleep.
  • Helps you feel good about yourself and happier in general.

How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?

  • Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity, above usual activity, most days.
  • About 60 minutes a day may be needed to prevent weight gain.
  • Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably every day of the week.

Make it Easy and Fun to be Active

  • Schedule activities all family members can enjoy 2-3 times a month such as family bike rides and hikes. Let children plan a physical activity like going bowling or to the skating rink.
  • Play with the kids - tumble in the leaves, build a snowman, splash in a puddle, or dance to favorite music.
  • Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement.
  • Walk, skate, or cycle more, and drive less.
  • Take the whole family on a tour of a local museum, zoo or historic site.

At Home

  • Push the baby in a stroller on a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play.
  • Walk the dog - don’t just watch the dog walk.
  • Cleaning the house or washing the car.*
  • Involve the whole family in household chores, cleaning, vacuuming, and yard work.
  • Do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike when watching television. Use exercise videos or DVDs or follow along with an exercise program on TV.
  • Plant and care for a vegetable or flower garden.
  • Reduce screen time with TV, computers and video games and increase active time.

At Work

  • Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend to go with you.
  • Take part in an exercise program at work or a nearby gym.
  • Take the stairs when possible instead of the elevator.
  • Join the office softball or bowling team.

At Play

  • Walk, jog, roller-blade, or cycle.
  • Swim or do water aerobics.
  • Play basketball, softball, or soccer.
  • Take a class in dance, yoga, martial arts or kick-boxing.
  • Golf (pull cart or carry clubs).
  • Canoe, row, or kayak.
  • Play racket ball, tennis, or squash.
  • Take a nature walk or hike.

*These activities are not necessarily at the moderate intensity level of physical activity.

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