For many mums and dads, the thought of fitting exercise into an already busy family schedule can seem like too much. But getting active doesn’t have to involve a session at the gym. Sydney Local Health District’s experts share their tips on exercising every day - with the family.
One of easiest ways to make sure you’re active every day is through incidental exercise; doing things like walking instead of driving and taking the stairs instead of the lift. Karen Bedford, Program Manager at Sydney Local Health District’s Health Promotion Unit says it all adds up. “Physical activity can be accumulated in small amounts through the day or as a single longer session. These two types of activity produce similar health benefits, and many people find it easier to be active in lots of little ways throughout the day”.
Walking to school or to the bus stop ensures parents and children are exercising daily, which Ms Bedford says has huge health benefits. “Children who are regularly physically active are healthier and perform better academically and both children and adults are less likely to be obese or overweight”.
Jenni Jones, Sydney Local Health District’s Clinical Nurse Consultant for Child and Family Health Services agrees walking is great for everyone, adding the benefits extend beyond fitness. “Walking to school involves opportunities to learn road safety and time is spent just talking as you walk”.
Ms Jones recommends trying other activities as a family as well, like swimming, ball games, bike riding or bushwalking.
She says exercising is about setting up good habits. “Exercise should be viewed not as a short-term activity but as a long-term goal with positive health outcomes”.