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Time Pressed Tuesday

Published in For the Health of It, Exercise Author: Mackensey Stang, BLEND Program Specialist

Even though most sources, such as suggest 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week for adults, hitting that mark can be very challenging. Quite often, getting in a workout is more than just carving out those thirty minutes. It is ensuring you have childcare, time to shower and clean up afterwards, travel time to and from the gym, agreeable weather conditions, and tackling any other obstacles that might be standing in your way.

As parents, carving out this time for ourselves can be a challenge, but we all know how important it is to do. What is even more important is making sure that time for physical activity is available to the little ones that we are responsible for. Despite our own challenges and setbacks, we are responsible for teaching children to be active and healthy, and their recommended daily dose of physical activity is twice that of adults, at 60 minutes. How can we expect children to grow into healthy adults if their childhood consists of television, video games, and unhealthy snacks? If we cannot make the time for activity for ourselves, we should absolutely find a way to do it for our children. With that being said, if we can get up and moving with our children, everyone will reap the benefits of both physical activity and time spent together!

At BLEND, we decided it was important to step up the plate and present our readers with easy, realistic ways to engage children in active living and healthy eating, no matter how pressed for time they may be. You can find ideas and advice on leading a healthy lifestyle here on a regular basis, with topics catered to those challenges that parents and families often face.

To start the series off, we will focus on one simple concept, and that is the use of time. As we alluded to earlier, even that ‘small’ timeframe of 30 minutes can seem daunting when you calculate all of the preparation and time that goes into the before and after. One important thing to consider when trying to fit everything into your busy day is that those 30 minutes do not need to happen all at once! The minutes can be broken down in countless ways, whether it be 15 minutes in the morning and at night, in three 10 minute breaks throughout the day or even incorporated into your day-to-day activities.

To provide our readers with some easy tips on incorporating activity in short increments, we have compiled a list of 10 minute activities that should be easy to work into your routine!

  1. Walk your children to/from school. If you live too far away for this to be an option, park a few blocks away and get in some walking together that way!
  2. Go for a walk around the block before or after dinner.
  3. Have a dance party before bedtime.
  4. Park farther away from buildings, or when dropping your children off at school. Those extra few minutes of walking add up quickly!
  5. When grocery shopping or running errands, bring your kids and walk a brisk lap around the perimeter of the store before grabbing your cart.
  6. When watching a television show, get up and moving during commercial breaks. The average 30-minute show contains 10-11 minutes of commercials and is a great opportunity to create a game or contest for the family! Who can do the most push-ups or sit-ups during a commercial? The winner gets to choose tomorrow night’s dinner.
  7. Engage your children in household chores. Not only will this help teach them responsibility, but tasks such as dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming are definitely a great form of exercise! Set a timer for 10 minutes, and challenge them to see how much they can accomplish before the buzzer rings!
  8. As a family, take ten minutes of screen time and let your children choose physical activities to fill that time, instead, replacing that sedentary time with active time!
  9. If possible, make your yard “activity” friendly, whether it be with a basketball hoop, or having soccer balls or baseballs on hand. Encourage older children to head outside and play, either independently or with siblings/neighbors.
  10. Engage little ones in a “10 minute challenge!” A great list of ideas that can get kids motivated and active can be found here.
  11. Be sure to stop back to the blog on a regular basis for more tips on Time Pressed Tuesday. We are excited to help our readers make healthy eating and exercise more of a reality in their busy lives!