When it comes to heart health, it’s important that we think not only
of our own
cardiovascular health, but also that of our children. Studies have shown that overweight children
have as much plaque in their arteries as a 45-year-old adult, setting
them up for heart disease and other serious health conditions much earlier
than their parents.
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you and
your family can do for your health, especially in the prevention of heart
disease. Your children need about an hour of physical activity per day.
Here are some ways to get that exercise as a family:
Enjoy the outdoors
Old favorites like kickball, tag and hide-and-seek are fun for adults and
kids of all ages. Take turns hosting these activities with other parents
who want to keep their kids active.
Enjoy a visit to the park or playground
Explore your neighborhood. Walk or bike around your neighborhood instead
of driving. Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day provides heart health benefits.
Participate in seasonal activities like tennis, hiking, skiing, sledding
and pumpkin picking
Be active in the home
Take classes together
Fitness clubs and community centers in your area have classes like aerobics
and yoga for parents and kids to do together. If your child is too young
to participate in classes, look for classes that help you
burn calories with your baby by incorporating them into your yoga moves or pushing them along during
Give a gift of fitness
For birthdays and other holidays, buy presents that will promote activity.
A baseball glove, a basketball, a bicycle, or ice skates all encourage exercise.
Participating in activities on a regular basis, along with proper nutrition
can help your family stay healthy, for now and in years to come.