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      Tips for promoting your family's physical fitness

      Physically Fit Families Are Built Here

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      The start of a new year is the perfect time to take a look at our family's physical fitness. As parents we know that modeling is the best way to influence children. . . so, let's focus on improving our own physical health, as well as setting our children up for a lifetime of fitness! {}

      QUICK FACTS:

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      {}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Today's children are about 15% less aerobically fit than children 30 years ago.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} There has been a dramatic rise in pediatric obesity in recent years.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Many schools are reducing physical education classes and time for recess.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} "Screen time" (television, videos, computers, and video games) is an ever-increasing part of daily life, leading to sedentary lifestyles.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Children and adolescents (ages 5 - 17) need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days of the week, preferably daily.{} (Toddlers and preschoolers need exercise, too!){}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Active play for young children and physical exercise for older children and adolescents improves both physical and mental health.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Children with special health care needs can and should enjoy physical activity as much as any other child.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Physical activity has been shown to significantly help children/adolescents cope with stress. {}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Participating in regular physical activity helps children develop skills and pastimes they can enjoy throughout their lives.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Research shows that being a physically active child is linked with improved school performance. {}

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      TIPS FOR PROMOTING YOUR FAMILY'S PHYSICAL FITNESS:

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      {}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Lead by example and make physical activity a conscious choice, e.g., take the stairs; walk (instead of drive) whenever possible; engage in activities with your child such as hiking, canoeing, and biking; play games that require catching and throwing as well as those that strengthen bones, such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Prioritize by scheduling times to participate in physical activities with your child.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Sign up for a 5K or "fun walk" and train with your child.{} The Little Rock Marathon is March 2nd!!{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Focus on activities that promote having fun and developing motor skills and fitness rather than on competition.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Set an appropriate pace when beginning any activity, follow training guidelines, and keep your doctor informed of your child's exercise program.

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      ADDED BENEFITS OF TIME INVESTED IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES WITH YOUR CHILD: {}

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      {}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} These are golden moments to communicate and listen to whatever your child has to say while walking, running, or playing.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Children can still experience the value of physical activity and personal challenge -- even if they do not choose to participate in organized or team sports. {}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Walking, running, and playing is a perfect way to explore various settings, e.g., nature trails, parks, conservatories, etc. {}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Physical activity is not dependent on expensive equipment. . . you can walk almost everywhere!{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} Many forms of physical activity can become a personal challenge so that the child develops a clear sense of commitment to a goal.{} Be sure to recognize achievements along the way.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} This is a great opportunity to be positive and to celebrate everyone's efforts!

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      Sources /Websites to Explore

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      American Academy of Pediatrics

      Bright Futures - Guidelines for Health Supervision on Infants, Children, and Adolescents{}

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      President's Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition

      Runner's World

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      Compiled by: {}

      Sharon Long, M.S., Parent Education Coordinator,{} January 2014

      Prevention Services/ Centers for Youth and Families

      5905 Forest Place, Suite 205

      Little Rock, AR {} 72207

      GO! Families is a new CFYF program designed to build healthier families through nutrition and exercise. {} {} {}

      The 9 week course sponsored by Blue and You and is available for clients currently enrolled in CFYF outpatient services. Ask your provider if you are eligible for this opportunity to get {}fit in 2014.

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      Centers for Youth & Families

      Parent Resource Center

      5905 Forest Place

      Little Rock, AR 72207

      501.666.6833

      www.CFYF.org

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