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Back-to-School Season Means Time for Moms and Dads to Make Exercise a Priority, Says USciences Prof

Richards_RunningAs parents prepare to send their children back to school over the next few weeks, kinesiology professor Karin Richards at University of the Sciences, says now is the perfect time for them to create an exercise plan that suits their new family schedules.

“Forget New Year's resolutions, the start of a child’s school year can also be the start of a new fitness and exercise program for parents,” said Richards. “In preparation of a brand new school year filled with countless extracurricular activities, it’s important for mom and dad to plan ahead to make sure that they are getting the necessary amount of exercise.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity – such as brisk walking – each week. The agency also recommends incorporating muscle-strengthening activities into exercise routines at least two times per week.

Luckily, Richards said, these healthy guidelines can be easily achieved without blocking off a large chunk of the day or needing a gym membership.

  • Create a schedule: A weekly or monthly calendar of your work schedule, school functions, appointments, and other responsibilities is a tangible source of planning that will help you identify the best time each day to fit in exercise. 
  • Break it up: Even if you only have three 10-minute breaks throughout the day to squeeze in a workout, it’s better than doing nothing. An outdoor walk during a lunch break is also a great way to include exercise into a busy schedule.
  • Use your legs: Skip the elevator and take the stairs; be sure to lift your knees high during each step. Also, rather than drop off your children at the bus stop, take a family walk to the stop and add in calf raises off of the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive.
  • Use your body weight: Push-ups, bridges, planks, and squats are exercises that can be done in the privacy of your own home while watching television, listening to music, or helping children with their homework. These exercises can be modified for beginners and advanced fitness levels.
  • Stay active: Instead of sitting in the car or bleachers while your child is at sports practice or play dates, consider jogging around the field or park during practice. You can still pay attention, but you are also burning calories.

“The dog days of summer are slowly coming to an end, and parents will soon be faced with schedule overload and afterschool activities,” said Richards. “But don’t let that keep you from adapting a healthy lifestyle; planning, organizing, and even mixing in a quick work out here and there, will have moms and dads well on their way to becoming more active and prioritizing exercise in their lives.”

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