Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Moving Matters: How Much Physical Activity Do Families Need?

Now that we're getting settled into our new home, I've been thinking about our family's daily routines and which activities should take priority over others.  I am keeping in mind that my ultimate goal for our family is to be happy and healthy.  I feel like often times in trying to keep our family healthy, I focus mainly on the nutrition side of health.  The fitness side often gets pushed to the side.  This is probably because we have to eat, so it's much more obvious that good nutrition is important.  Also, when you're busy all day either working, making good food, and taking care of busy children, fitting in fitness is many times the last thing we want tackle. 

I really feel though that our family's physical condition is crucial to maintaining health.

Before I discuss how our family is making an active lifestyle a priority, I want to highlight how much activity the experts recommend. 

For my son, who's almost 18 months old, KidsHealth.org recommends 1 1/2 hours of minimum daily activity.  Of that, 30 minutes should be planned while 60 minutes can be free play.  The link will also take you to the recommended activity amounts for older children. 

For my husband and me, the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association tell us that we should be getting:
  • moderately intense cardio 30 minutes per day, five days a week, OR
  • vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes per day, three days per week, AND
  • 8-10 strength exercises, 8-10 repetitions of each, two times per week
Well, now that I know the guidelines, I will use them as goals for our family to meet as a part of our daily and weekly routines. 

How about you?  Did you know about these recommendations?  Does your family already follow them or do you (like us) have room for improvement?

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