By Ashley Gramatges, director of healthy living innovations, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast
YMCA of Florida’s First Coast Inc., one of more than 70 United Way of Northeast Florida partner agencies, works with community organizations to nurture the potential of youth and teens. Part of the Y’s cause includes a responsibility to help First Coast families develop lifelong healthy habits. Change is hard, but an easy way to get enough exercise is to add more play time into your family’s day.
Ten Minutes At a Time
Something is better than nothing, as long as your arms and legs are moving. To get 60 minutes of activity throughout your day just add ten minutes here and there. Park your car a little farther away, walk around the grocery store once before you start shopping, or go for a walk rather than just letting your dog outside.
Turn It Up a Notch
Spend a little more energy while moving several times a week. Try to engage in vigorous activities at least three times a week for 20 consecutive minutes. Don’t worry if five or ten minutes leaves you feeling wiped out at first. Small steps will get you there, so don’t overdo it. When the play stops feeling good, take a break.
Have a Ball
Include a ball in your play time and you’re likely to get your blood pumping a little faster—which is good. Try going out to the backyard or a park with your kids and keeping a beach ball up in the air for as long as possible. Kick a soccer ball around for a few minutes and see how that feels. Even throwing a football back and forth will send you jogging to recover the ball from time to time.
Adding fun activity to your family’s day provides energy and balance you need to live a full and balanced life. It’s also one of the keys to avoiding chronic conditions down the road. And, what better way to spend time with your kids?
The Y offers healthy living support to families through a variety of fitness classes, sports leagues plus physical activity and nutrition curriculum in our Summer Camp, Before & Afterschool and KidZone programs. Learn more at FirstCoastYMCA.org.