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Get Fit TogetherIt’s time to get up and get moving! Research shows that when individuals become more physically active they will improve their health and well-being. Those who enjoy being moderately or vigorously active on a regular basis benefit by lowering their risk of developing coronary heart disease, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and colon cancer. Active people have lower premature death rates than do people who are not active. Even with all this evidence, most people still remain sedentary.
Start today to get your family in shape.
When it comes to physical activity, children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day and adults need at least 30 minutes. Make getting more physical activity a family project. Encourage everyone to think of fun things to do to get members up and moving. As a family, get off the sofas and away from the screens.
Families have the TV turned on an average of seven hours and 40 minutes per day. For children under two years old, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no television or video viewing. For children over two, no more than two hours per day is recommended.
Here are a few simple tips to help your children reduce
their screen time and increase physical activity in order to
maintain a healthy weight.
• Know how much screen time and active time your family is getting. By knowing
how much screen time and physical activity your family accrues, you will be more
aware of their needs for physical activity to maintain energy balance.
• Talk to your children about the importance of sitting less and moving more to stay
at a healthy weight. Physical activity is energizing and provides a chance to
practice skills such as bike riding. It’s a great way to have fun with friends
• Make screen time active time. Stretch, do yoga and lift hand weights while
watching TV. Challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups, jumping
jacks or leg lifts during commercial breaks, or switch to an exercise tape
• Set a good example. Be a good role model and limit your screen time to no more
than two hours per day. If your children see you following your own rules, then
they will be more likely to follow. Instead of watching TV or surfing the Internet,
spend time with your family doing something fun and active.
• Play music and dance. Play hide and seek, charades or other active games.
• Go outside and play hopscotch, jump rope, Frisbee, freeze tag or dodge ball.
• Play games like “Simon Says,” “Mother May I” or “Red Light, Green Light.”
• Set up an obstacle course or host a family Olympics with events you make up.
• Host a family block party game night with tag football or a treasure hunt.
• Have fun as a family by raking leaves, and then jumping in them!
A few moments of playful activity and fun can give your family a boost of energy while building relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Set family activity goals.
Material used with permission from North Carolina State University
Cooperative Extension’s Successful Family Program