There are many benefits of regular physical
activity; however, people often have many excuses for not being more physically
active. The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics
encouraging families to consider all the benefits of being physically active and
how to overcome some obstacles. Each family member can take a step toward
becoming more physically active by filling out the physical activity plan.
Being physically active is one way you can
Have fun—this is important!
Spend time with friends.
Improve your body image.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Increase energy levels.
Improve your self-image.
Increase your endurance for sport or
Get muscles or definition.
The following are suggestions on how to
overcome 4 common barriers to physical activity.
1. “I don’t have time.” What you can
Build activity into your
day: walk or ride your bike for transportation.
Get off the bus a stop early
and walk the rest of the way.
Take the stairs whenever
“active” activities with friends and
Sign up for physical
education at your school.
Walk around the mall twice
before you start shopping.
2. “I don’t like sports” or
“I’m not good at any sports.” What you can
Consider active hobbies,
like gardening. You don’t have to play a sport to be
Choose an activity that you
enjoy. Dancing, bicycling, and swimming are fun choices. And
walking counts too.
Consider volunteer work,
like helping at a youth center or serving meals at a
Find a friend, sibling, or
other family member to be an “activity buddy”
and schedule a fun activity 2 to 3 times a week.
3. “My neighborhood isn’t safe.” What you
Use a workout video or DVD
in your home.
Dance in your home to your
Find a YMCA, Boys and Girls
Club, or community recreation center in your
Sign up for school
activities such as physical education or after-school
4. “I’m overweight or out of shape.” What
you can try
Start slow with 10 to 15
minutes of activity; walking is a great start.
Build short activity breaks
into your day; take the stairs!
Count up your daily sit-down
activities (computer, video games, TV time) and decrease
them by 30 minutes.
Join an after-school program
or community program that involves activity or learning a
new skill—get a friend to go with you.
Each member can use the following questions to
help create a personal physical activity plan. Parents can help their children
fill out the questions. Parents also should remember that they can be powerful
role models and can shape their children’s perception of physical
activity and exercise.
1. What are the main benefits I want from being
2. What are the reasons or barriers that keep me
from being active?
3. If necessary, what will be my solutions to
4. What activity or activities am I going to
5. Where am I going to do this activity?
6. When am I going to be active (include time of
day and on which days of the week)?
7. How long or how many minutes will I be active
8. Who will be my activity buddy?