COVID has certainly brought us all a number of challenges. Homeschooling, remote work, isolation from loved ones and other community restrictions have all impacted us in one way or another.
Getting active probably isn’t super high on many of our busy “To Do” lists, but there probably is more reason now than ever to ”Keep Fit and Have Fun” as Hal Johnson & Joanne McLeod used to say.
In recognition of National Health and Fitness Day on June 5th, we thought we would share a few reasons and ways to safely stay active at home or in the community.
Physical activity doesn’t need to be structured or complicated and the benefits of staying active are immense. Not only does regular moderate physical activity improve our overall quality of life, but it also helps reduce our risk for things like high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, and high cholesterol while improving our breathing, blood flow, flexibility and strength. Physical activity can also help improve focus (for kids and adults), productivity, reduce overall anxiety and reduce stress. And we all could use a little less stress right about now!
You probably already do many activities every day that count as moderate physical activity! Gardening, going for short walks, climbing the stairs, mowing the lawn and even vacuuming are all great activities where you will see some aerobic benefits. Below are some targets for kids, youth, adults and seniors. For more details visit https://csepguidelines.ca
- Little kids need the most activity, but this really doesn’t need to be structured as long as they move! Aim for 180 minutes of movement time for little ones under four.
- Kids ages 5-17 need to sweat a little and should be aiming to get 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Running, walking, shooting hoops, biking or playing a quick game of tag can all make up the 60 minutes. The best thing is that physical activity is cumulative so don’t worry about your kids doing it all at once!
- Adults and seniors have the same target for activity and should be aiming for 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic physical activity and we all should look for ways to reduce our sedentary (sitting) time. Recommendations also highlight that adults should do some strength activities twice per week that work major muscle groups. Bodyweight activities like squats, crunches and push-ups are great inexpensive and effective options.
It might seem a bit overwhelming right now to get active. Below are some ideas we thought we’d share for you to consider to safely get active with your family at home or in our community.
- Explore the neighbourhood– there are lots of great biking trails and walkable paths in Whyte Ridge and the neighbouring communities! Go out and explore. In particular, we are so close to Fort Whyte and for those that are a bit more adventurous – we have some challenging trails in Bison Butte in the Tuxedo Industrial area. Remember to adhere to the current public health orders and do your part to physically distance with neighbours who aren’t part of your household to keep yourself and others safe!
- Tech it up! For those that like their gadgets – use an app like Strava to map out the route or see how fast you went! Kids are often fascinated if you show them the route after your walk or ride on a map overlay. Or for those that have kids that are glued to their devices – apps like “Pokemon Go!” are great encouragement to merge their interests with healthier activities! Apparently, we have lots of great PokeStops in Whyte Ridge! Who knew?!?
- Beautify our community! For those that are more environmentally minded – grab some rubber gloves and garbage bags. Many kids love to see their handy work and are proud of their contributions to a litter-free neighbourhood. Alternatively, focus on your property by planting a few flowers in the garden, cutting the grass, and showing pride in your home! Bending, lifting and walking are all great ways to build flexibility, strength and aerobic endurance from the safety of your yard!
- Time for a commercial break! If the weather doesn’t permit an outdoor excursion – make sure to take some opportunities to get off the couch every once in a while. Use commercial breaks as stretch & strength or even dance breaks! Toe touches, jumping jacks or squats are all great activities to do as a family or just crank up your kids’ current favourite song and “cut a rug”. Again, all physical activity is cumulative and more is often better.
Remember, every little bit counts towards your daily target. We hope these ideas have been helpful and encouraging. Make it fun and family-friendly and your kids will thank you for the laughs and the healthy habits!
If you are new to exercise or are unsure how to start, please consult your family provider (Doctor or Nurse Practitioner) for some guidance.
For more simple tips, ideas or guidance there are lots of great resources online: