Family Life | Dump the excuses and get yourself moving

Family Life | Dump the excuses and get yourself moving

By BRITTANY ALBRECHT

As New Year's resolutions start to fade, we hear more and more excuses for why we are not able to complete our goals. "There's not enough time in the day!" "It's too cold outside!" "It's not fun!" "I'm too old!"

These are some of the common reasons that people give for not staying physically active. However, regular physical activity has been reported as the single best thing you can do for your health!

It is incredibly important for multiple reasons to stay active and maintain balance during all times of the year. In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to utilize positive peer pressure to stay active with the whole family.

"Not enough time in the day!"

Studies show that it takes only 30 minutes of physical activity a day to see positive effects. This means that we do have enough time in the day — we only need to schedule a half-hour to get moving!

Physical activity has incredible benefits, such as reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

In addition, regular physical activity can help you control your weight and strengthen your bones and muscles. For older adults, physical activity could be helpful in preventing falls and improving your ability to do everyday activities.

'It's too cold outside!'

Too cold outside? Commercial-cize! Many families watch television at night. During commercial breaks, try engaging in exercises like push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks or high-knees. This is a fantastic way to get everyone moving together during a normally sedentary activity.

Families could also utilize technology and try out electronic fitness programs. These electronic games offer options like dancing, boxing and bowling that can help you stay active inside during the cold months.

Even something as mundane as an in-home maintenance project could be a great way to get everyone active.

'It's not fun!'

Physical activity CAN be fun! It can be a great way to spend time as a family.

Utilize this time together to bond and instill values of health consciousness. There are several ways that you can get the whole family involved.

Make it a habit, such as scheduling family playtime after dinner or on the weekends. Get outside and try hiking, frisbee, flag football or playing tag together! Even just walking with the dog around the neighborhood can be beneficial.

You can use this time to talk about highlights of the day and stay updated on each other's lives.

'I'm too old!'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, "The health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt." No one is too old to exercise. However, please be sure to consult with a health professional if you are unsure about what type or amount of physical activity is appropriate for you.

Physical activity can be a great bonding activity across generations. Get Grandma and Grandpa involved, too! Strengthening activities such as lifting weights or yoga can be extremely advantageous for preventing bone loss and muscle tone.

Overall, there are countless benefits associated with regular exercise and great arguments against the common excuses for inactivity.

Get creative and find fun ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily schedule. Think outside the box when it comes to engaging family members and utilizing indoor space during the cold months.

When weather permits, start a new ritual and head outdoors for family playtime. The positive impacts of regular physical activity on your health and family dynamics will be apparent and lasting!

Brittany Albrecht is a senior interdisciplinary health sciences major at the University of Illinois and an intern at the UI Extension office in Champaign. To read more family-life-related topics, visit the statewide family-life blog, "Family Files," at http://go.illinois.edu/familyfiles, visit the local University of Illinois Extension website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/ or contact Chelsey Byers Gerstenecker at 217-333-7672 or clbyers@illinois.edu.

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