Published on November 11, 2020

mom teaching son to ride a bike

Staying Fit as a Family

While many things have been changed or canceled this year, staying in shape doesn’t have to be one of them. Routines may have changed, but there are plenty of other avenues for the whole family to stay active during these unprecedented times.

Keeping Kids Active

Physical activities like walking, jumping rope and riding a bicycle can all be done close to home and safely.

“Creative play is another great outlet for children of all ages,” said Diane King-Shaw, PhD, clinical director for The Lourie Center School, a Rockville elementary school for students with special needs operated by Adventist HealthCare. Take advantage of extra time at home teaching life skills, like weeding the garden or setting the table.

“It’s beneficial for children’s brain development to be engaged in a variety of activities and to try new things,” Dr. King-Shaw said.

Staying in Shape

For teens and adults, a well-rounded fitness program includes aerobic exercise, resistance training and flexibility training.

“Teens and young adults should aim to get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily, while adults should aim for 150 minutes per week,” said Trey Godwin, MD, physiatrist at Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation.

Go for a walk or jog, bike around your neighborhood, or go for a swim. Add resistance training with body weight and resistance band exercises. For those used to working out with a trainer or in a group setting, online exercise classes on YouTube or with fitness apps can guide activities and help you stay motivated. Some offer short workouts that are fun for the whole family.

Are these substitutes as effective as the gym or physical education class?

“While exercising at home may be different from your previous routine, you can get similar benefits. If you’ve been sedentary for a while, remember to resume activity gradually to decrease your risk of injury,” Dr. Godwin said.

Play It Safe

No matter what activity you and your family choose, keep safety in mind. If you’re working out on shared equipment, be sure to clean surfaces thoroughly with disinfectant wipes. Follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask and wash your hands.

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