Regular physical activity is just as important to a healthful lifestyle as smart eating. Apply the same principles of variety, balance and moderation to both your food choices and your physical activities.
- Variety: Enjoy many different activities to move different muscles, such as power walking for your heart and leg muscles, gardening for arm muscles and sit-ups for abdominal muscles.
- Balance: Because different activities have different benefits, balance your physical activity pattern. For overall fitness, choose activities that build cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, bone strength and flexibility.
- Moderation: Move enough to keep fit without overdoing it. At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most and preferably all days of the week will do.
Practice variety, balance and moderation to keep your body healthy.
The Benefits of Active Living
Research confirms that children who watch more television, eat fewer family meals together and live in neighborhoods perceived by their parents as less safe for outdoor play are more likely to be overweight.
Parents and caregivers can encourage active play with these tips:
- Balance sedentary play (such as reading together) with plenty of active play.
- Choose day care that makes safe, active play a priority.
- Set aside time each day for active play together, perhaps tossing a ball, playing tag or taking a family walk.
- Designate an inside and an outside area that's safe, where your child can freely jump, roll and tumble.
- Pick toys that "move" — a ball or tricycle.
- Join a play group together.
Reviewed July 2014