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Staying Active: A Family Effort

This post was written by Exact Sciences Product Manager Joellyn Enos.

Humans are made to be active by physiology and by personality. Our bodies don’t stay healthy unless we move. Physical activity has been shown to help reduce your risk for cancer, including colon cancer.

Excersize also has many other benefits, it helps control weight, builds lean muscle, reduces fat, promotes strong bone, muscle and joint development, and decreases the risk of obesity. Children awake with high energy that want to run and play are nature’s purest example of the human need to move. 

But unfortunately, many adults and children aren’t active enough:

  • Eight to 18-year-old adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using electronics in a typical day. 
  • Only one-third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity.
  • Over 78 million U.S. adults and about 12.5 million U.S. children and adolescents are obese.

We are reminded to get active and keep our children active for the health of all of us. Sounds like a great idea, but how? 

My family is similar to many families, and just like many others, we struggle to answer this question. Real-life responsibilities challenged our ability to keep our activity level up every day.

With two kids, ages 5 and 7 years old, the time was right to set good routines for being active. We decided that we wanted to do our best to be active as family, and to try to make it fun. Here are a few examples of what worked for us.

MAKE IDLE TIME ACTIVE TIME

When our kids were asking to watch TV while we were busy with making dinner, we tried “the step challenge.” We handed out a pedometer and made a game. The person with the most steps before dinner was served first. Surprisingly, the kids were very enthusiastic about the game and it was great way to burn energy before dinner.

BE ACTIVE TOGETHER

During our family vacation we went camping in northern Wisconsin. Before we relaxed by the fire and had hot dogs and Smores, we went for a long hike to visit the local waterfalls. We all enjoyed the fresh air, and the waterfalls were beautiful. 

GET OUTDOORS ALL YEAR ROUND

In the wintertime when our kids were feeling cooped up and starting bickering, we simply sent them outside to play. Even though it was cold out, moods instantly changed. 

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RESOURCES

All of these efforts were well worth it for our entire family and our kids enjoy being active more than ever. A little bit of time went a long way!

For more information about getting active with your kids, please visit these resources:

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/move/slideshow-kids-love-exercise

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/strategies/index.html

https://letsmove.obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/lets-move-outside

YOUR TURN

How do you stay active with your family? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
 
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Topics: Healthy Living

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