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How Much Physical Activity Should Your Family Get?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and teens be physically active for at least 60 minutes on most, if not all, days. For children, the 60 minutes of activity can be done in smaller chunks of time over the day. Some of that time may come from moderate physical activity offered in schools and classrooms through physical education (PE) classes.

The Guidelines recommend that adults should do a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. Health experts recommend this level of activity to reduce the risk of chronic disease later in life.

Also, 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week will help adults avoid gradual weight gain. Physical activity can be done in smaller chunks of time over the day.

Life does get in the way, but it doesn't have to. Make getting more physical activity and physical fitness a family project. Encourage everyone to think of fun physical activities for children and adults that get them up and moving, off of the sofa and away from the screens—and doing things as a family.

Learn tips on how you can fit more activities for your children and family into your daily routine. And remember, don't let conditions like asthma keep your family from being active on a regular basis. For example, asthma can be controlled with appropriate treatment, so that most children who have asthma can participate in whatever activities they choose! Check with your healthcare provider, then make plans to reach the activity goals from the Guidelines listed above.

Last Updated: May 8, 2012

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