Families and Physical Fitness
It is a great time to get healthy with your family, community, and school. Here are a few ideas to get you moving.
At home and community:
· Take a walk with a child or family member. Even offer to walk a neighbor’s dog.
· Play a physical game such as “Twister’, or the limbo.
· Walk or ride your bike to run errands, to a friend’s house down the street or to a local store.
· Instead of sitting in your car waiting for your child’s practice to be over or watching a game from the stands, pass the time or take in the action by walking around the playing field a few times.
· Take advantage of a weekend morning or afternoon. Take an early walk or bike ride in the morning. Turn off the TV for an afternoon picnic at a park where you and your family or friends can participate in a variety of activities: hiking, flying a kite, playing Frisbee or softball, or swimming.
· Participate in a charitable event that features a physical activity. There are many walks/runs/
rides for great causes. Or sponsor such an event to raise money for your own organization.
At an office or clinic:
· Have a health and wellness related activity session for clients or staff in the waiting room or during a meeting stretch break.
· Start a walking group at lunch.
· Add signs at elevators that encourage users to “take the stairs.” Be sure to include how many
calories are burned per flight.
· Chart out a “walking map” of routes starting from your building or community center. Be sure to
include routes with various distances (i.e. short, long). Send out maps via e?mail, in new employee
packets, or post on a fitness board.
· Stretch at your desk a couple of times a day.
· Hold an assembly featuring health and wellness ideas promoting physical activity. Have the School Principals and Teachers lead the activity!
· Walk or bike to school or work for a week. It will encourage others to do the same.
· Make a Coloring Book from images of sports and physical activities. Print the outlined versions of the images and lead the group describing each picture, talking about the activities, and trying them. Children can choose pictures of the physical activities they want to try and staple together as a book to take home. Older kids can make a collage of the images they want to try!
Physical Activity Facts
- Adults 18 and older need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy; children and teens need 60 minutes of activity a day for their health.
- Significant health benefits can be obtained by including a moderate amount of physical activity (e.g., 30 minutes of brisk walking or raking leaves, 15 minutes of running, 45 minutes of playing volleyball). Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity.
- Thirty to sixty minutes of activity broken into smaller segments of 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day has significant health benefits.
- Moderate daily physical activity can reduce substantially the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, such as colon cancer. Daily physical activity helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, helps prevent or retard osteoporosis, and helps reduce obesity, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and symptoms of arthritis.
- Physically inactive people are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as regularly active people.
- 37% of adults report they are not physically active. Only 3 in 10 adults get the recommended amount of physical activity.
- Poor diet and inactivity can lead to overweight/obesity. Persons who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems and some types of cancer.
- According to a study done by the National Association of Sports and Physical Education (NASPE), infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time except when sleeping.
- One quarter of U.S. children spend 4 hours or more watching television daily.
- Young people are at particular risk for becoming sedentary as they grow older. Encouraging moderate and vigorous physical activity among youth is important.
According to Melissa Johnson, executive director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, which started National Physical Activity and Sports Month in 1983, “Americans of all ages need to incorporate more movement into their daily lives. Adults need at least 30 minutes of activity 5 days each week. This can be done by choosing to bike or walk instead of driving, taking stairs instead of elevators, or pushing a lawnmower instead of riding one. Children need at least 60 minutes of daily active play. They need to run, climb, jump, and just get up and move around, away from their desks, the television and computer games.” Twenty minutes of vigorous physical activity three times a week, such as sports, aerobics, working out in the gym and running, have added health benefits. Johnson says, “But it’s important to understand that you don’t need to sweat in a gym or run a marathon to reap the health benefits of daily physical activity. Even 30 minutes a day, broken up into shorter increments of ten or fifteen minutes, can greatly improve your health.”
It is a great time to start making small, realistic changes that fit into your busy lifestyle. It's not as difficult as you might think if you make incremental changes that you can stick with for the long-term. For more information about starting a physical activity and fitness program visit www.fitness.gov for the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and www.americaonthemove.org for America On the Move (steps to a healthier way of life). You can also sign up to take the President’s Challenge at http://www.presidentschallenge.org/home_adults.aspx