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Shelly Barnes: Spring into an active lifestyle for self-sustainability

Shelly Barnes • Apr 17, 2018 at 8:53 PM

Most of us hear the words physical activity and thoughts of agony go through our heads. We imagine sweat, pain and hard work. The last thing that we typically think of is the idea of having fun. It is important to realize, however, that being active does not need to be strenuous to be beneficial. In fact, an active lifestyle can actually be enjoyable.

Many factors can hinder your family from getting enough physical activity. For example, sedentary activities such as the television, video games, computers and homework can all interfere with how active we are. With the growing rates of obesity, however, it is imperative that we find ways to fit activity into our lives. It is even more important that we find enjoyable activities that can become a regular part of our lifestyle.

Therefore, this month set a goal for your family to spring into an active lifestyle. The American Heart Association recommends every adult aims for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity every day. This may seem excessive at first, but here are some tips to help you to achieve success:

• Break it up: Most adults are busier today than ever. Between jobs, children and household chores finding time for 30 minutes of physical activity seems impossible. However, it is important to keep in mind that physical activity does not need to be done in one 30-minute time slot. For example, try breaking it up into three, 10 minute intervals. Doing this would allow you to obtain all of your physical activity without interfering with your busy schedule. For instance, try walking the neighborhood for 10 minutes before your morning shower. Then, walk for another 10 minutes during your lunch break. Finally, end the evening with a final 10-minute walk with your family after dinner. It is as easy as that.

• Make it fun: When most people think of exercise they assume they have to join an athletic club. They picture themselves sweating on treadmills surrounded by people in spandex! However, as stated earlier, physical activity should be fun. It is important to find activities that your family enjoys. For example, head to the park for a nice walk in the sun. Or, play a game of hopscotch with the children in the driveway. Another idea is to enjoy the spring weather by rollerblading or walking the dog. Or, if you are timid of the outdoors, why not put on some music and sway to your favorite tunes. Just remember to keep moving.

• Make family time active: Too often our busy schedules can get in the way of quality family time. However, by making your family time active you can accomplish two goals at one time. For instance, taking a walk with your family after dinner will offer you a great chance to catch up and share your day. Or how about joining your children for a fun game of catch or kickball? Finally, you could go explore the neighborhood parks for a fun, inexpensive day out!

The benefits of physical activity with your family are endless. It offers enormous health benefits, as well as, serves as a way to decrease stress and spend valuable time with your family. What are you waiting for? Now is the time for you and your family to spring into an active lifestyle.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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