That's all it takes every day for you and your family to gain a lifetime of good health.
BY DEANNA BETTERIDGE
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, September / October 2010
It's that time of year again. Summer's over,
the kids are back at school and the television
networks are about to unveil enough new "must
see" TV shows to consume all of your free time.
True, the luminous glow of the big screen TV and its endless hours of
dramas, comedies, reality shows and sports programming can be hard to
resist, especially after a hard day around the home or at work.
But before you succumb to the latest episode of Glee or American Idol,
take a moment and ask yourself this: Have I made time for some physical
activity with my family?
It's an important question, one that could have significant implications
for the long-term physical and mental health of you and your family.
Study after study shows that being physically active 30 to 60 minutes
a day has many benefits for each member of your family. Exercise can
reduce the risk for chronic disease, strengthen bones and muscles, help
maintain a healthy weight, increase energy, and improve sleep patterns.
Physical activity can also help your child perform better in school by
increasing his or her ability to focus in class. Being active can also provide
mental health benefits. Increased patience, improved ability to deal
with stress, better emotional control, decreased anxiety and reduced risk
of depression - these are just some of the benefits that can come from
It's also important to note that you can be a good role model for your
kids. Research shows that parental support and attitudes play a huge role
in their children's attitudes towards physical activity and the amount of
physical activity they participate in. In other words, if you are active,
your child will likely be active, and that will have a positive effect on
their health as they grow older.
So now that you know how important it is to be active, what can you
do about it?
Well, you can start by scheduling some family physical activity time.
Set aside time in the calendar, just like you do for meals, homework, and
appointments, for structured and unstructured active family time.
Being a parent means something different to everyone, and is based on
a whole host of variables. But I feel pretty confident in saying that each
parent wants the best for their children. By ensuring that you and your
child are physically active on a daily basis, you are doing one more thing
to ensure your child lives a happy and healthy life.
Deanna Betteridge is a co-ordinator with Winnipeg in motion.
Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.
Read the September / October 2010 issue of Wave