The British study, published in the March 2014 issue of Pediatrics, reviewed the exercise habits of 554 mothers and their preschool-aged children. Led by research associate Kathryn Hesketh of the UCL Institute of Child Health, researchers at the University of Southampton found that if women were active on a weekly basis, their children were as well.
Participants wore heart monitors to track their weekly activity. The study also found that 53 percent of the moms in the study engaged in moderate-to-vigorous activity for 30 minutes one day a week.
A Move in the Right Direction
Help your children gain a healthy start by adding physical activity to your family’s day with these ideas.
• Find a playtime group. Moms who meet for weekly play dates can support each other and be active on and off the playground. Keep ride-along toys, baseballs and mitts, Frisbees, jump ropes, and hula hoops stowed in the trunk of your car for extra fun or for days when the playground’s packed.
• Have a field day. Are your children bored with the backyard? Try holding an old-school field day, filled with sack races, ring toss match-ups, metered dash and more. Your child’s friends can join in to add to the competition, and at the end of the day, you could award medals, ribbons or other prizes for their efforts.
• Take a field trip. Take your little one on a tour of a farmer’s market or an aquarium or out for a short hike. A change of scenery can add extra steps to your day without you (or your child) noticing. Let your children pick a few interesting locales that they want to visit and pencil monthly outings onto your calendar to mix things up.