When you get home from work and your kids get home from school, do you collapse onto the sofa and veg out in front of the TV together? Or, after dinner, do you just have a few minutes left to help with homework? Then, when it’s all done, you and the kids grab your smartphones or tablets to check social media before turning in for the night.
You’re not alone. We’re a nation of couch potatoes.
A recent survey says families are not getting enough physical activity together. When moms spend 10 minutes or more doing something with their children (ages 5 to 18), it’s more likely to be sedentary than active, according to the survey by Woman’s Day magazine and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national nonprofit founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation to combat childhood obesity.
The top three activities moms do with their kids are eating a meal (90%),Â watching television (79%) and doing homework (65%), according to the survey. Only half of the 1,154 moms surveyed had gone out for a walk, run or bike ride with their kids in the last week and just over one-fourth had played a sport, run around or danced together.
Almost half (44%) of the moms said their children don’t get the recommended seven hours of activity per week. They blame homework, the children’s attitudes and the “draw of the screen.”
There’s a lot to blame, but the result is that rates of overweight and obesity have soared in the United States. In 2012, more than two-thirds of adults and more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Consequently, the nation as a whole is not very healthy, especially compared to other countries where people are more active.
“We know that Americans are busier than ever, but becoming more active can help set up families for a lifetime of healthy habits and lowering the risk of obesity and heart disease,” says Susan Spencer, editor-in-chief of Woman’s Day. “By partnering with the Alliance on this survey, we learned 67 percent of moms believe it would be easy for them to add an extra 10 minutes of movement with their kids daily.”
To inspire families to get moving, the Alliance launched #Commit2Ten, a social media campaign challenging everyone to add 10 minutes of physical activity to their daily routine throughout September. The website offers a personalized fitness profile, a 30-day activity calendar, resources and motivation to commit to 10 additional minutes of physical activity per day.
I know from experience that life gets crazy when you’re juggling work and kids and their busy schedules. It gets even harder to find time for fitness when school starts and the pace of work increases and the frequency of play decreases.
Plus, when the school buses start rumbling down my street, my melancholy moods roll right along with them. I know that soon cold weather will arrive, and I won’t get out as often to walk or jog or garden or go to the beach. I’ll go to the gym, but I’ll miss being outdoors.
This survey and campaign provide reminders about the importance of committing to activity, even if only in 10-minute spurts.
My latest short habit is to do 30 pushups on the sink vanity a couple times a day. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it helps keep my muscles toned and my bones strong.
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