It sometimes seems like organized sports have taken over our lives. Practice twice a week, games on weekends. For some kids, it is a love of the sport that drives this schedule. For others, we are just trying to get our kids active and away from the screens. While organized sports are good there are other ways to be active. As summer approaches sit down as a family and review the recommendations for good health.
The U.S .Department of Health recommends that all age groups be active. For adults 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise is recommended. Children 6 and older are recommended to get 60 minutes of activity a day. For more specific recommendations visit this link: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/phys/recommend
While this can feel like a daunting task, keep in mind all the things children and adults can do that count as activity. Remember, the 60 minutes doesn’t have to be all at once. The newer studies are showing that doing short periods of exercise-10 minutes-throughout the day are better for you then doing 60 minutes and then sitting the rest of the day. So, schedule some body breaks for your family and have fun. Here are some ideas to get you started.
-housework! Wash windows, vacuum, mop…….
-for you creative people things like obstacle courses, treasure hunts, geocaching……
-playing at the park
Screen time should be limited to 2 hours or less per day-school work doesn’t count towards this. Discuss with them how to limit screen time and things they can do instead. For younger children, a chart that lets them check off screen time and activity time is a great visual. For older children, you might have them earn _____minutes of screen time by doing ______minutes of activity. Set a timer so everyone gets up and moves every hour. Remember parents, children see what we are doing too! The 2-hour screen time limit would be good for all people no matter what the age.
When being healthy try to make it fun for all. Make a family reward it you all meet the activity guidelines. In Wisconsin, we have many places to go hiking and exploring. Stop at a Farmers Market, pack a healthy picnic, a bottle of water and go for a hike. You will be making fun family memories and improving your family’s health at the same time!