Major health benefits for families that are physically active

Leading by example could lead to a lifetime of healthy living for kids and add years to our own life!

Michigan State University Extension encourages children and adults of all ages to be active, as a part of our nutrition series and programming. An article posted July 8, 2014 from the Washington Post called “Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in Class along with information from the National Institute for Health, discusses that children and adults alike could benefit from leading more active lifestyles.

Reasons to be active:

  • Greater attentiveness
  • Flexibility
  • Strength increases
  • Increased energy
  • Improve heart and lung capacity
  • Weight maintenance or loss
  • Satisfaction of achieving more than you thought possible – setting and accomplishing goals assists in a healthy lifestyle and increases self-confidence. Whether your goal is a distance, time or getting others involved the gain over a month or a year can be incredible! Consider signing up for an event as a motivator and an accountability tool, if you have a date to work towards your drive and consistency will likely improve.
  • Build relationships/camaraderie – Sharing an activity with a partner, friend or family member can strengthen communication, increase time together, push you through set-backs and allow you to share successes. This is true for children, as well, as they are likely to be active longer with a playmate or caregiver than on their own.

“We found that even a low level of physical activity – equivalent to about 10 minutes a day of walking, was associated with a gain of almost two years in life expectancy. High levels of activity – equivalent to about 45 minutes a day of walking, were associated with a gain of four years or more,” says Dr. Steven Moore, National Institutes of Health.

Low cost activities:

  • Walk/run: To friends’ houses, stores, playgrounds and with pets
  • Ride a bike: Take advantage of trails when and where possible
  • Swim: Many community pools offer low cost family nights or frequent visitor discounts
  • Old fashion games (never get old to children): Hide-and-seek, tag, kick ball, 4-square, ring-around-the-rosy, London bridges, parachute/sheet
  • Play: Badmitten, volleyball, tennis
  • Jump rope
  • Climb stairs
  • Dance to music in the living room
  • Visit parks, playgrounds and nature centers and consider bringing healthy snacks or go further and have a picnic to lengthen your time there

We are all community influencers and role models, so we must be the change we want to see. Leading by example could lead to a lifetime of healthy living for kids and add years to our own life!

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