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Mercy Women's Care at St. Anne
3404 W. Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623
419-407-1616

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Health Tips: Family Fitness this Fall

separator Families tend to be more active in the summer, but fall is coming. Schedules will change. The kids are going back to school, daylight hours are getting shorter, the weather will turn colder. But one thing stays the same—everybody needs to keep active.

Here are some ways to set the tone for an active fall and winter:

Set limits on computer and television time
How much time does your family spend watching television and sitting in front of the computer? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should watch no more than one or two hours of television a day, believing that

  • Television violence is frightening to small children.
  • Watching television contributes to childhood obesity.
  • Children who watch more than 10 hours a week have more trouble learning in school.
  • Some television programming reinforces gender-role and racial stereotypes.

Sitting at a computer is not much better than staring at the television set. While kids may not be exposed to the same things from the computer that they see on television, they’re still not being active.

You’ll probably encounter strong resistance when you introduce the idea of less television and computer time. Discuss the issue honestly with your children. Make sure they don’t feel like they’re being punished. Let them know why it’s important to set limits. And be sure to set an example yourself. If the kids see you watching a lot of TV, they’re going to get mixed messages.

Use that non-TV, non-computer time to be active
Turning off the television gives the whole family time to talk to each other and enjoy activities together. If everybody stops focusing on playing computer games, going into chat rooms and watching a lot of television shows, time will be freed up for healthier activities. Here are some ways to consider filling that time.

Get regular physical activity together. Instead of spending weekends and after school time driving your children to endless activities, consider cutting back on some of the team sports and do things together as a family. All of that time on the road, dropping kids off, picking them up again, racing to the next lesson, can be stressful for everyone. It’s not necessary to stop all team participation. But take a look at what you might be able to give up, and replace that with, for example, one evening per week and one weekend afternoon when the family enjoys a neighborhood walk together, a hike in the woods, a bike ride, time at the local skating rink, etc.

Listen to music. Even very young babies enjoy listening to music, and young children enjoy singing and dancing. With the television turned off, you can have music playing often. Explore different types of music together, and get up and dance as a family. Don’t worry—nobody’s watching!

Source:
The American Academy of Pediatrics; Children First; The US Food and Drug Administration.



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