The Benefits of Physical Activity: Just Do It*
Forget the old saying, "No pain, no gain." Physical activity doesn't have to be strenuous to be beneficial. Even moderate physical activity, such as household chores or walking 60 minutes a day, has health benefits. Here are some steps and suggestions to keep in mind.
- Reduce the time your child spends watching TV, playing video games, and sending instant messages on the computer (OK, this might hurt a little bit).
- Select activities that you (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) and your child can enjoy. If it's something that you and your child dread, it will never last.
- Start out slowly and gradually increase the intensity. For example, start with a 10-minute walk three times a week and work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes five times a week).
- Shoot for losing weight gradually (1/2 to 1 pound per week). If your child is overweight or obese, losing just 10 percent of his or her body weight can have significant health benefits.
- Ensure that your child's school breakfast and lunch programs meet nutrition standards. Provide food options that are low in fat, calories and added sugars.