The days are getting shorter and school doors are open, which brings homework, extracurricular activities and lots of time spent going from one place to the next in the car.
It’s a routine that we’re all used to, but an unfortunate side effect for the whole family is that more time is spent being sedentary. Although there’s often not much we can do about screen time (computer use) at school or work, there are ways to maintain those healthy summer routines into the fall and winter and keep yourself and your family moving.
- Be a healthy role model: Set limits for your own recreational screen time as well as theirs. This includes your TVs, tablets, computers and phones.
- Do chores together as a family that encourage getting outside: Raking leaves, shovelling snow, walking the dog, or biking to the store for milk instead of driving.
- Schedule outdoor time for children every day: The best way to encourage kids to sit less is to let them go outside.
- Be an active chauffeur: Don’t just sit in the car waiting on kids to finish up their activities. Use that time to get moving yourself and use active transportation when possible.
- Build activity into your commute: Walk or bike to work when possible or carpool with a spouse or neighbour and walk from their workplace to your own.
- Schedule movement: Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind yourself to stretch, move around, take some time away from the task, give your eyes a break and refresh your mind.
- Take a walking meeting: Take your telephone call on the go while you stretch your legs, or encourage meeting participants to walk around the building while you talk.
- Step up: Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Escape the lounge: Use some of your lunch break for physical activity. Get out of the lunchroom and go for a walk.
- Go old school: Walk to a co-worker’s office to talk to them instead of calling or emailing.
Establishing active routines and spending less time being sedentary will leave you feeling happier and more alert and will improve your fitness and your social life! Making these small changes in our behaviours at home and work will over time become part of new, healthier routines.
A version of this article was originally published in the August 2015 issue of A Healthier You magazine.
About Holly Christian
Holly Christian is a Regional Lead for Population Health. She has a passion for healthy living and health promotion and is a foodie at heart. Originally from Ontario, she has fully embraced northern living, but enjoys the warmth of the sun and the sound of the ocean. She swims, bikes and runs, and is currently training for her first marathon.