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Families Should Play Together for Exercise

Families Should Play Together for Exercise

Family Fun By Shelley Swenson

You may not need coats and your yard may not have these leaves but finding fun and creative ways to engage children in exercise is important.  You can consider yourself successful if they have fun doing so without knowing they are meeting physical activity recommendations by participating in at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity on all or most days of the week.

This is the time to start planning for your children’s summer while they enjoy time at home or at alternative settings from school.  Insure they are active to optimize their health.

Being physically active has both mental and physical health benefits.  The majority of the benefits becomes apparent in adults because this is the time in which health problems surface.  However, risk factors and symptoms for chronic disease may begin as early as childhood, especially in obese children.  In addition, physical activity can reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression.  Being active improves self-esteem, self-efficacy, and mood and promotes the feeling of overall wellness.

Everybody is short on time, even in the summer.  Many people don’t believe they can meet the recommendations for physical activity every day.  The good news is that it doesn’t all have to be done at once.  Physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day for the same health benefits.

Inactive children are much more likely to be inactive adults.  Children who have active family members and who regularly do activities with them are more likely to be active compared to children who do not come from active families.

As you plan your summer, consider how many of these physical activities could become family activities:  walking briskly, biking, weight training, yard work, gardening, dancing, golfing, or playing hop-scotch, four square, or active games with running and chasing.

Making physical activity fun with the family can make the time pass by quickly. Finding time to be active together is important for families who want to live a healthy lifestyle.

For more ideas for staying active as a family, check out Raising Healthy Children:  Family Fitness and Raising Healthy Children:  Active Families.

 

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Author: Shelley Swenson – sswenson@ufl.edu

Shelley is the FCS/EFNEP Agent in Wakulla County. She joined the UF/IFAS Wakulla County staff in 2008 after re-locating in Florida. She previously worked for the Kansas State University’s Extension Service for 13 years in a county position. She also spent 15 years in various administrative roles in the Kansas community college system. She owned and operated an interior business for five years.

Living Well in the Panhandle

Permanent link to this article: http://jefferson.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/05/19/families-should-play-together-for-exercise/