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Get Active

Children jumping rope

Whether it's taking a family walk on a Saturday morning or after dinner, or washing the car together, We Can!® encourages you to get active to maintain a healthy weight.

By getting active, you're using calories you store up from everything you eat over the course of a day. Everything your family eats and drinks—from what you eat for breakfast to what you drink with dinner—is stored as energy. If this stored energy isn't used, it creates an imbalance that can lead to weight gain.

However, balancing your food intake and activity IS possible. Learn more about energy balance.

When we talk about moving more, we are not asking you and your kids to train like athletes. Some types of physical activity and exercise can burn a lot of energy. But everyday activities use energy, too. Simply parking farther away from the grocery store and walking the extra distance can use more energy.

It's up to you to choose the activities that are right for you and your family. And, it's also up to you to stick with it. It is easy to spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer or television.

It's the same for kids. They spend hours sitting at their school desks, sitting at home doing homework, and sitting in front of the TV or computer.

Fight the urge to slouch on the couch. Instead, get up and go. Set an example for the kids in your life. Moving more can do more than just help your waistline, it can make you healthier by:

  • Relieving stress
  • Improving your sleep
  • Making your bones and muscles stronger
  • Making you feel full of energy
  • Building strength and endurance
  • Helping you feel good about yourself
  • Giving you something to do when you're bored
  • Providing a way to connect to family and friends

Note: Health conditions like asthma sometimes discourage kids from engaging in physical activity, but these conditions don't have to stop your family from being active. Check with your child's medical care provider to make sure your child's treatment plan allows your child's asthma to be well controlled. When asthma is in good control, most children can do any physical activity they choose! For more information visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Lung Disease publications page, or the NHLBI National Asthma Control Initiative.

Find more everyday tips and other ways to get active by visiting our Tips for Getting Active, Make Family Time Active Time, Balance Food and Activity, and Everyday Ideas to Move More pages.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americansexternal link that children and teens be physically active for at least 60 minutes on most, if not all, days. Learn more about how much activity you and your family should get.

Last Updated: February 13, 2013

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