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Posted on / Val Ziske, FNP

Cultivating a Healthy and Active Family Culture

Over the past couple of years, we have seen a multitude of research, articles, and news segments regarding the mental and physical effects of chronic stress, isolation, and decreased physical activity. Now more than ever, maintaining a routine with regular activity can be transformational for your health and the health of your family.

Current CDC guidelines recommend about 60 minutes of physical activity daily for children and teens. An active lifestyle has many benefits besides improving physical health, but also social-emotional wellness.

The benefits of physical activity for children include improved attention and memory, improved classroom behaviors, better grades, and a lower risk of depression and anxiety. In addition, physical benefits include stronger bones, decreased risks of obesity, and improved cardiovascular health.  

For families, creating an active family lifestyle may seem daunting, especially if you sometimes feel more like a chauffeur than a parent. But there are simple ways to help ensure you're getting much-needed movement into your days.

Below, are some ideas on cultivating an active family culture. Remember to implement habits and make changes that are realistic for your family.  

Walking & Biking

Walking or biking to and from school (or the bus stop) - and this is for parents too! If this isn’t feasible, try having a 10 or 15-minute family walk in the evening

Extracurricular Activities

Sign kids up for extracurricular sports or activities. Parents, while your kids are at practice, this is a great time to get some exercise as well. If your child has practice outside, take a walk around the park or field, and don’t forget to stretch.  

Active Family Time

Find an activity that the whole family can do together. This could be hiking, rock climbing, swimming in the backyard pool, or even playing hopscotch together. This is a great way to encourage physical activity in kids but also is fun to do as a family.  

Yoga Bedtime Routines

For busy or late nights, incorporate 10-15 minutes of gentle yoga stretches before bedtime. Both adults and kids benefit from stretching and tying in yoga before bed can help kids release any extra energy before falling asleep. This can also be a great opportunity for parents to have quality conversations with their kids.  

Divide Up Activities

Make staying active easier to fit in by dividing activity up into smaller blocks of time (15-20 minutes) throughout the day. 

 

Small steps lead to big change. Choose one or two of the suggestions above to start implementing into your family's daily routines.

 

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/school_pa_benefits.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/index.html

https://sageclinic.org/blog/improve-familys-health/

Health, Fitness

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