WinterActive Month – February

WinterActive Month

We know that we are not active enough, especially during the winter months. It is cold. It is dark. Did I mention that it is cold?

Did you know….
Did you know that 63% of Canadians are not active enough to achieve the health benefits they need from physical activity.

WinterActive was designed to help Canadians of all ages improve their health and quality of life through healthy living.  Though this month is not a national celebration undertaken anymore by Canadian Federal and Provincial governments it is still worthwhile celebrating.

Physical activity appears to reduce the risk of over 25 chronic conditions, in particular coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, breast cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Research shows that as much as one half of the functional decline between the ages of 30 and 70 is due not to aging itself, but to an inactive way of life.

Though we know that physical activity is essential, we are still not getting enough and neither are our children.  In 2008, 87% of children and youth are not meeting Canada’s physical activity guidelines of 90 minutes of physical activity a day. Only 10% of Canadian youth are meeting the guideline for screen time of less than 2 hours per day, and many get close to 6 hours per day. (Canada is among the upper half of countries with the highest proportion of youth accumulating excessive screen time.)

 

Consider this:
We are awake about 13-18 hours a day, but we only have to be active for one hour and that 60 minutes of activity doesn’t have to be done all at once. You can add up your activities, 10 minutes at a time, to get that daily total.

One of the promotions that I found on-line was the Live Outside the Box campaign which encourages Albertans to participate in an activity and not be caught in a sedentary lifestyle dominated by time spent in front of a television or computer.

WinterActive means that we should all be turning off our TV, computer and video games and looking for activities that can get us more active.  Children and youth should try to accumulate at least 90 minutes of physical activity per day and decrease the amount of time spent on non-active activities such as watching videos and sitting at a computer.

 

Beverly’s Hot Tips For Celebrating WinterActive Month:

  • Be a role model. Children learn more from our actions than our words. Share the fun. Take the time to play actively with your children.
  • Be realistic about your children’s activity level.  88% of parents say their kids are physically active, yet objective measures indicate that 87% are not meeting physical activity guidelines.
  • Turn off the television. Limit the amount of time your child watches television and plays video or computer games to one hour per day for preschoolers and two hours per day for school age children.
  • Explore the community for lessons such as karate, archery, swimming or indoor soccer for you and your children if you hate being in the outdoors.
  • Take advantage of a fresh snowfall, dress your children warmly, get them outside and keep them moving.  Some good winter fun can include: ice skating, tobogganing, skating, hiking, snowboarding, skiing, snow castles, build a snow maze, create snow creatures, snow throw (use underhanded throws to another person or into a bucket), spell your name in the snow, football in the snow, road hockey, snow soccer, treasure hunt…
  • Create a new morning routine. Start your day with 10 minutes of movement. Some stretching and a short walk first thing in the morning can be better than caffeine. Try dancing to your favourite up – beat music for 10 minutes a day.
  • At work, get active by taking stretch breaks during meetings, have a “walking” meeting – grab your colleague and discuss business while taking a walk, take the stairs, replace your coffee break with a walking/wheeling break, contracting your stomach and back muscles while sitting in your chair or on the bus, taking a brisk walk before lunch for about 10 minutes, and/or rolling your shoulders and stretching your neck when sitting in front of the computer.
  • Keep track of you and your family’s active/inactive time.  Awareness is the first step to going from inactive to active.

Now to go and shovel the sidewalk.  Did I mention that it is cold and dark outside?

Other links
For outside winter games to play with your family visit – http://www.everactive.org/uploads/files/Documents/2007winterEnglish.pdf

 

 

If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!

 

Additional Resources:

National Handwashing Awareness Week

Finding Your Optimal Health

Stress Smart Shift Work

Flu Prevention Month

Quiet Day

Water: A Necessity

National Senior Health And Fitness Day

National Health and Fitness Month – May

National Recreation and Parks Month

National Camping Month

Take A Walk Outdoors Day

 

 

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Written by Beverly Beuermann-King

Building Resiliency Through Stress and Wellness Strategies. Stress and resiliency strategist, Beverly Beuermann-King, CSP, translates current research and best practices information into a realistic, accessible and more practical approach through her dynamic stress and wellness workshops, on-line stress and resiliency articles, books, e-briefs and media interviews.

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