Family Tips For an Active Lifestyle

Making a commitment to be physically active is one of the best ways your family can prevent or combat obesity and its consequences. Physical therapists support the Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines, which states:

  • Children should get 1 hour or more of physical activity a day.
  • Adults should do either:
    • 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity
    • 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of high-intensity aerobic physical activity.

These tips were designed by physical therapists to help families stay active and incorporate physical activities into their daily lives:

“Smart Moves” for Your Family

  • Plan active weekend family activities such as hiking, swimming, bicycling, mini-golf, tennis, or bowling.
  • Help your child plan physical activities with friends and neighbors, such as skating or softball.
  • Have a “rainy day” game plan of indoor activities involving fitness games such as Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution.
  • Remember that your family does not need to join a health club or buy fancy equipment to be active. Walking isn’t costly and it’s easy. So is designing a backyard obstacle course. Weights can be made from soda or detergent bottles filled with sand or water!
  • Provide positive rewards for your child when he or she engages in physical activities, such as workout clothes, a new basketball, or an evening of roller-skating.
  • Provide positive feedback about your child’s lifestyle changes. Remember not to focus on the scale (for you or your child).
  • Be your child’s “exercise buddy”. Plan daily walks or bike rides and set goals together for increasing physical activity rather than for losing weight. It’s also great bonding time!
  • As you schedule your child’s extracurricular activities, remember to plan time for exercise and activity as a priority for the entire family. Don’t just “squeeze it in.”
  • Encourage children to try individualized sports such as tennis and swimming. Studies show such activities are the basis of lifelong fitness habits.
  • Parents and children can do exercises while watching television (or at least during commercials), such as sit-ups, push-ups, or running in place. Discourage snacking or eating meals while watching.

Compliments of Move Forward PT: Physical Therapy Brings Motion to Life

Physical Therapists’ extensive knowledge of pre-existing conditions (such as type 2 diabetes and obesity) allows them to help people of all ages and abilities establish life-long patterns of physical activity. For those who already are obese, physical therapists can design safe exercise programs that reduce pain, restore flexibility, as well as increasing strength and cardiovascular endurance. For people with type 2 diabetes, they can design and supervise exercise programs that reduce the need for medications, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, and help manage blood sugar levels, among other benefits.

Knee Pain Explained

Knee pain is a fairly common issue, with approximately 1 in 4 American adults experiencing knee pain affecting the function of the knee. The prevalence of knee pain has increased over the past 20 years, with osteoarthritis being the most common cause in people over the age of 50. When knee pain occurs as a result of injury, it is most often associated with knee cartilage tears. These injuries can result from direct blows or sudden movements that cause the joint to go beyond its normal range of movement. Knee pain can cause difficulty performing activities such as walking, rising from a chair, climbing stairs, or playing sports. Physical therapists have specific training to help diagnose and treat knee pain, and help individuals return to their normal activities without pain or limitation.

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Soreness vs. Pain: What’s the Difference?

There are many benefits to exercise, including the potential for improved physical and mental wellbeing. However, there may also be some physical discomfort associated with these activities due to the stresses placed on the body.

When experiencing discomfort, it is important to understand the difference between exercise-related muscular soreness and pain. Muscular soreness is a healthy and expected result of exercise. Pain is an unhealthy and abnormal response. Experiencing pain may be indicative of injury.

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