Here in NC we are all dreaming of Spring and hoping that the groundhogs don’t see their shadows today! January brought many inches of snow but also teased us with 70 degree, Spring-like weather a few times. As we look forward to Spring, we here at RTS would like to encourage you “get moving”. MoveForwardPT.com emphasizes the point that “making a commitment to be physically active is one of the best ways families can prevent or combat obesity and its consequences.”
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines state that:
- Children should get 1 hour or more of physical activity a day.
- Adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.
The following tips were designed by physical therapists to help families stay active and incorporate physical activities into their daily lives:
“Smart Moves” for Families
- Plan weekend family activities involving physical activity, such as hiking, swimming, bicycling, mini-golf, tennis, or bowling.
- Help your child plan physical activities with friends and neighbors, such as skating or softball.
- Have your kids brainstorm a “rainy day” game plan of indoor activities involving fitness games such as Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution.
- Remember that your family does not need to join a health club or buy fancy equipment to be active. Walking isn’t costly and it’s easy. So is designing a backyard obstacle course. Weights can be made from soda or detergent bottles filled with sand or water!
- Provide positive rewards for your child when he or she engages in physical activities, such as workout clothes, a new basketball, or an evening of roller-skating.
- Provide positive feedback about your child’s lifestyle changes. Remember not to focus on the scale (for you or your child).
- Be your child’s “exercise buddy.” Plan daily walks or bike rides and set goals together for increasing physical activity rather than for losing weight. It’s also great “bonding” time!
- As you schedule your child’s extracurricular activities, remember to plan time for exercise and activity as a priority for the entire family. Don’t just “squeeze it in.”
- Encourage children to try individualized sports such as tennis and swimming. Studies show such activities are the basis of lifelong fitness habits.
- Parents and children can do exercises while watching television (or at least during commercials), such as sit-ups, push-ups, or running in place. Discourage snacking or eating meals while watching.