Physical Activity: Overcoming Obstacles (Care of the Young Athlete)

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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.

Benefits of being physically active

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.

  • Feel stronger.

  • Increase your endurance for sport or

  • Get muscles or definition.

  • Decrease stress.

Overcoming common obstacles

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

    • Plan fun,
      “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
    can try

    • Use a workout video or DVD
      in your home.

    • Dance in your home to your
      favorite music.

    • 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.

Physical Activity Plan

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
physically active?


2. What are the reasons or barriers that keep me
from being active?


3. If necessary, what will be my solutions to
these barriers?


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
each day?


8. Who will be my activity buddy?