Tips to Help You and Your Children Get Active!
Did you know that Canadian guidelines recommend children take part in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day in order to achieve health benefits? And even more physical activity is better! It doesn’t need to happen all at once, but aim for activities that get their bodies moving and their heart rates up. Try adding more physical activity into your children’s day in bouts of 10 minutes, and watch the minutes add up!
Follow these tips for adding more physical activity into your families’ day:
- Talk about why physical activity is necessary for people of all ages - to be as healthy as you can be, to develop strong bones and muscles, prevent illness and long term diseases such as heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.
- Set a good example by being an active role model yourself. Active parents usually have active children.
- Make your children aware of how they spend their day. By keeping track of how much time they spend being active and comparing it to how much time they are watching TV or playing on the computer, they may be surprised at how much of their day is spent ‘sitting’. Download a copy of the Pause to Play log sheet http://www.healthunit.com/article.aspx?ID=16340 and have the whole family keep track of screen time.
- Set limits on how leisure time is spent. Start by reducing screen time by 30 minutes and replacing that time with physical activity. Canadian Guidelines recommend no more than 2 hours of screen time for children and youth.
- Find out what your children like to do. Physical activity doesn’t just mean playing sports. Not all children enjoy the competitive nature of sports, but may prefer dance, martial arts, cycling, running, walking, etc. Aim for activities that really get you moving, get your heart rate up and make you start to sweat and breathe harder.
- Learn about what’s available in your community and sign up! Find out more about Spectrum Interactive.
- Set a goal to work toward. Try to increase the amount of time you are active by 30 minutes each day. If you and your family look forward to movie night or watching a favourite TV program, why not take a brisk walk together before you settle in for the night? It’s a great time to talk to your children, too.
- Play with your children. Locate parks and playgrounds in your neighbourhood and visit them often.
- Keep children interested by trying new activities. Make sure they fit with the age and ability of your child. When children learn new skills they feel good about themselves and will want to repeat the activity. Give lots of praise for their achievements!
- Choose a variety of activities that all family members can do, and build them into your day. Repeat favourite activities….again and again!
Information from/adapted from the following References:
1. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. (2011) Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines Retrieved February 15, 2011 from http://www.csep.ca/english/view.asp?x=804
2. Active Healthy Kids Canada, Canada's Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth 2010
Last Reviewed Nov 2011