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Who ever said physical activity is all work and no play?

Who ever said physical activity is all work and no play?

In fact, it can be just the opposite! There is no need to think of strenuous workouts that are painful and boring. Instead, imagine doing fun physical activities you enjoy and look forward to. Now imagine getting your children involved. Not only do adults need to become physically active, children do too! Recent studies indicate that an estimated 15 percent of children and adolescents ages 6-19 are considered overweight.1 So how can we reverse this trend and get our children moving? Make it fun! Find an activity that interests your child and dive right in. Whether it is riding bikes, hiking or roller-skating, your children will love spending time with you and will learn that physical activity can be a fun family event. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) issued physical activity guidelines for elementary school-aged children (Corbin et al., 1998.) that recommend the following:

  • Elementary school-aged children should accumulate at least 30 to 60 minutes of age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate physical activity from a variety of activities on all, or most, days of the week.
  • An accumulation of more than 60 minutes, and up to several hours per day, of age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate activity is encouraged.
  • Some of the child's activity each day should be in periods lasting 10 to 15 minutes or more and include moderate to vigorous activity. This activity will typically be intermittent in nature, involving alternating moderate to vigorous activity with brief periods of rest and recovery.

It is clear from the statistics above we need to get our children moving. Children should not have extended periods of inactivity.2 If our children adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity when they are young they are less likely to become sedentary adults. So how do we encourage our children to get moving? Make it Fun! Get involved with physical activity for enjoyment and watch the health benefits follow!

1 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, (NHANES)
2 Promoting Better Health for Young People Through Physical Activity and Sports: A Report to the President From the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education.