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Creative Programming and Activities

by ACSM August 22, 2012

Physical activity is important for all ages. Our Recommended Guidelines suggest 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults, and 60 minutes per day for children. Inactivity resulting from increased screen time in this digital age is on the rise, so it is more important than ever to stay active.

Children are active by nature, but busy schedules and sedentary hobbies often make it difficult to engage in recommended activity. Families can help re-light the fire to play by participating in fun physical activities together. Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

10 Activites for Families

  • Take a family walk after dinner.
  • During commercial breaks, stand up and have fun family dance breaks.
  • Bring your child's favorite movie to life. For example, play your own version or Quidditch or Finding Nemo.
  • Make Wednesday "Walk Backawards Wednesday." Challenge your family to walk backwards when walking or playing throughout the house.
  • Have an Olympic-themed party in your backyard, complete with active events.
  • Create an obstacle course or scavenger hunt.
  • Make Sundays "sports day" and highlight a different sport each week.
  • Ride bikes at least once a week, weather permitting.
  • Go to museums instead of movie theaters for family outings.
  • Have children act out their favorite book, TV show or movie.

What is your favorite family activity?

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is just around the corner in September. Visit www.coam-month.org to find out what you can do to change the childhood obesity trend.

Stay Active on Campus

No college student wants to experience the "freshman 15" or the "four-year 40" - both terms for the weight gain that is all too common in the college years. In high school, many students are very physically active through sports and other activities, and they have access to more nutritious meals at home and at school. Learning how to make health and wellness a priority is an important lesson that should be taught during college. Every student should leave college with a lifelong plan for fitness.

Exercise is Medicine on Campus is bridging the gap between health care, fitness and the campus population (students, faculty, and employees) to integrate physical activity into their daily regimen and improve the quality of life on campus. The goal is for all college students to learn proper physical activity habits that they can continue throughout life. Sonoma State University used EIMC's guiding principles to create a video informing the students about campus opportunities to stay active.

Stay Active at the Office

Many adults spend most of their day sitting. A typical office worker will sit while commuting and working, during lunch and breaks, and in the evening upon returning home. In a world with an abundance of sitting opportunities, it is no wonder inactivity is on the rise.

It may be easier to become inactive on the job, but that does not mean there isn't ample opportunity to get moving in the office. So what can you do?

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk, run, take a class, or head to the gym at lunch.
  • Get a standing desk, treadmill desk, or exercise ball in lieu of a chair.
  • Walk, don't drive, to a favorite lunch spot.
  • Stand when talking on the phone.

All of these activities are simple, inexpensive changes that create a healthier work environment. None is easier than increasing how often you walk. People who walk are three times more likely to reach the physical activity guidelines, even if only done 10 minutes at a time. You can easily measure your daily walking by wearing an inexpensive pedometer (often $5 or less). Aim for 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.

For more information on the benefits of walking, check out Every Body Walk!. I challenge you to walk at least 30 minutes per day. How are you getting your activity in?

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