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Let’s Get Physical: Making Physical Activity a Part Of Your Family Life
Regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health, and people of all ages and body types can be physically active. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, so it’s a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. Kids who are active will:
- have stronger muscles and bones
- have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat
- be less likely to become overweight
- decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
- have a better outlook on life
While enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better. They are also better able to handle physical and emotional challenges, such as: from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.
There Are a Lot Of Ways To Get the Physical Activity You Need
Make sure your child or adolescent is doing three types of physical activity: aerobic activity, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening. To meet the guidelines for aerobic activity, basically anything counts, as long as it’s done at a moderate- or vigorous-intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time for about 60 minutes a day. Many of the physical activities fall under more than one type of activity. For example, if your child is on a basketball team and practices with their teammates daily they are not only doing vigorous-intensity aerobic activity but also bone-strengthening. It’s easy to fit each type of activity into your child’s schedule.
Stick With It
There are many things you can do to get and keep your child active physically, that can help shape their behavior and attitude toward physical activity. Start by choosing physical activities you and your child enjoy and that match your child’s abilities, it will help ensure that you both stick with them. Encourage them to be physically active for one hour or more each day, with activities ranging from informal, active play to organized sports. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some examples.
- Physical activity should be a part of the family’s daily routine.
- Set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle yourself.
- Be positive about the physical activities in which your child participates and encourage them to be interested in new activities.
- Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything that your child enjoys, structured or non- structured sports.
- After dinner, encourage your child to find fun activities with friends and family.
- Always provide protective equipment and ensure that the physical activity is developmentally and age-appropriate.
If your child has a chronic health condition or other symptoms be sure to talk with the doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for them.