In this day and age, with a virtual world at our fingertips, it is easy to become excessively attached to our soft and comfy friend, The Couch. However, our bodies are made and meant for movement. Physical inactivity has been shown to lead to many adverse health consequences, including obesity, heart disease, and osteoporosis. A sedentary lifestyle can even affect our emotional well-being, which pre-disposes us to decreased mental alertness and even exacerbates the effects of depression.
The growing and developing minds and bodies of children can also be negatively impacted by lack of physical movement and exercise. Parents play a critical role in teaching their children important life skill routines and habits such as bathing, tooth brushing, and homework completion. Physical activity is another life skill habit that must be taught and encouraged to promote overall health and well-being for our kids.
A great thing to know is that increasing your family’s daily physical activity level does not require elite gym or sports memberships, expensive equipment, or body and soul crushing exercise regimes. Creating family routines that incorporate movement, play, and physical activity is a first step to promoting awareness, enjoyment of, and development of lifelong fitness habits for our kids. I enjoyed reading and noted the helpful suggestions provided by Sarah Henry of WebMD in her article “12 Tips to Get Your Couch Potato Moving.”
Increasing your daily movement quota can begin simply and purposefully by making conscious choices to take the stairs, play a game of catch or hide and seek, walk or bike to a friend’s house, or (my personal favorite,) take the dogs for a daily walk. Make the choice to leave your davenport in the dust and to encourage your kids to move more and have fun in doing so!
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Pam Dahm, MS. PT, ATP/SMS, Physical Therapist, Lifescape