Encouraging active living with our families — Part 1

Get the whole family to sit less and move more through physical activities.

Regular physical activity has several health benefits. It can improve body weight and will increase physical fitness. Along with decreasing the chance of being or becoming overweight or obese, exercise is known to aid in lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, osteoporosis and some cancers. It can also aid in maintaining healthy muscles, bones and joints.

Regular physical activity helps our physical, social and emotional health, while reducing stress and helping us sleep better. Another very important benefit is that it can improve our relationships and promote fun with our families and friends.

Michigan State University Extension and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children have at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. You can gauge if you are moving at a good pace for yourself if you can still talk while moving. If you can sing, you probably need to pick up the pace or increase the intensity of your activity. Remember that everyone should consult their doctor before engaging in a regular exercise program and move at a pace or intensity that works well for you.

Here are some suggestions to begin physical activity:

  • Make it part of your daily routine.
  • Walk as you talk on the phone.
  • Use the stairs when available.
  • Park further away.
  • Walk your dog or the neighbor’s dog.
  • Walk at a local shopping center or mall during colder months.
  • Contact your local municipality or county parks and recreation department and ask about low cost or no cost activities in your area.
  • Give it a try! Just do it and try to enjoy it. Pick an activity that the whole family will enjoy.

Be a role model for your family, make it fun and make it a point to fit into your schedule.

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