Benefits of Physical ActivityThe benefits of regular physical activity include:
· Building strong bones and muscles
· Maintaining a healthy weight
· Improving physical self-esteem
· Sleeping better and feeling more relaxed
· Having more energy, plus better physical and mental health
· Better posture and balance
· Reduced risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis
· Improved ability to continue with independent living, due to better physical healthAdults Lead the Way
To boost your family’s physical activity levels, the adults in the family have to “step up” too! By leading the way and adding family-oriented activities to your family’s daily schedule, it can really help to boost the amount of physical activity that you and your family members achieve.
Being active as a whole family can bring your family closer together. For example, a family walk, or a family game of croquet, bocce ball or baseball can be a lot of fun, for all ages. Other simple, fun activities are a good way to get everyone moving. Try different activities that involve jumping, throwing, catching and kicking. These kinds of basic activities will help your children learn important skills they need every day at school and at play. By being active with your kids, giving them constant encouragement, and showing a sense of fair play and good sportsmanship, gives them a healthy, active role model to follow.No Need to Break the Family Budget
Sometimes, the cost of group activities may be high, but there are lots of ways to be active without breaking your budget. Aim to include as many low-cost activities in your lifestyle as you can, such as walking, swimming at local lakes, running or hiking. For activities that may cost more, try these approaches:
· Buy second-hand gear (e.g., a used canoe, used skates, used ski equipment)
· Borrow or exchange basic gear or equipment with relatives or friends
· Rent gear or equipment rather than buying
· Plan/budget ahead to do certain activities (but only as often as you can afford to)
· Start a family project to save money for a favorite item or type of equipment (e.g., this could be a small item such as a quality football or top-of-the line Frisbee, or a larger purchase such as new or used cross-country skis, boots and poles for one or more family members)Planning Steps for Parents
In today’s busy world, there are so many things that can get in the way of family physical activity. For instance, many families have children (and adults) who are too often preoccupied with using various electronic devices, such as television, computers, mobile phones, gaming equipment and more. In most cases, these types of “screen time” are largely inactive or sedentary time.
To help you and your kids be more active, make a plan. Plan to decrease screen time by 20 or 30 minutes each week. (At the same time, reduce your own screen time, so the kids can follow your example. Then get moving.