A new study came out recently about the benefits of exercise – not that we needed a new study to tell us that exercise is good for us and we should all be moving more, but this one went one step further. Not only did it talk about the health benefits of exercise but it also warned us about the ill effects of being sedentary.
You see – it’s been pretty well proven that excessive “screen-time” (TV, computer, video games) by children increases the risk of overweight and obesity. In addition, sedentary time in adults increases the risk of cardiometabolic disease, some cancers and overall mortality (your likelihood of dying). Studies have found that as movement goes up the rate of death goes down – hmmmmm. But it’s not just “screen-time” that is sedentary – adults and kids engage in many other sedentary activities, like sitting in the car, sitting at work or school, sitting waiting for the doctors – whatever. A simple way to define sedentary is basically – sitting with little movement.
So, how do we get less sedentary? How can we sit less – we have to drive, we have to work, we have to sit in school- so what can we do? Try these ideas, you may have heard some these a million times over but that’s because they work.
- Get up from your desk every hour to walk around for a few minutes.
- Walk to a co-workers office instead of e-mailing or calling them.
- Advocate for more stretch breaks and physical activity breaks at your child’s school. (This has also been shown to improve attention and hence grades.)
- Instead of immediately starting homework, allow 30 minutes of non-electronic active time when kids get home from school. Their brains are tired, not their bodies.
- Allow 2 favorite shows a day. When the kid’s shows aren’t on the TV goes off. By simply turning off the TV your kids will be less sedentary.
- Take the stairs – an oldie but goodie!
- Park farther away – another oldie but goodie.
- Take family walks and hikes.
- Buy your kids jump ropes, bikes and balls – not motorized scooters.
- Get kids involved in housework and yard work. Turn the music up to make it more fun for them.
- Have activity contests – Who can do the most sit ups in 1 minute? Who can log more steps on a pedometer? Who can do the craziest dance?
The point is to GET MOVING and get your kids moving too. Teaching kids healthy habits at a young age and being a good role model will put them on the right path for life. Visit Let’s Move.gov for more inspiration.