New Physical Activity Guidelines

Any amount of physical activity — even two minutes’ worth — can add up to huge benefits for your immediate and long-term health, according to the new edition of the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Previously, the guidelines held that unless physical activity lasted 10 minutes or longer, it didn’t count toward a person’s recommended weekly activity goals.

The first edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines came out a decade ago, in 2008.  The new edition also highlights a broader array of short- and long-term benefits from physical activity, all based on scientific evidence.

The guidelines now recommend that children aged to 5 be active throughout the day to enhance growth and development — at least three hours a day. Kids aged 6 through 17 are recommended to have at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Pregnant and postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, while older adults should add balance training on top of their aerobic and muscle strengthening activities, the guidelines say.

“You need to get out and be active, whether you’re a child or an adult, whether you’re a pregnant woman, whether you have chronic disease — there’s no group that isn’t affected by these guidelines,” said Handberg, a member of the American College of Cardiology’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Committee.

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Get Outdoors

Enjoy the crisp, cool air by getting outdoors! Start a new family tradition by going on a family walk before or after dinner.

Get Kids Moving

Create a backyard obstacle course complete with pool noodle balance beam, hula hoop hopscotch, and a jump rope station.

Go for a Family Walk

Enjoy the summer evenings – take a walk as a family after dinner. It’s a great way to be active together!

Get Kids Moving!

Create a backyard obstacle course complete with pool noodle balance beam, hula hoop hopscotch, and a jump rope station.

Healthy Summer Challenge

Encourage your kids to take the Healthy Summer Challenge form the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. Summer is a time to relax and enjoy downtime, but don’t forget that staying active and eating healthy is still Important. Getting 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day and eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables is essential to child health. These fun calendars challenge kids to stay active and eat healthy over summer break.

Summer Calendars

How to Host an Active Kid’s Birthday Party

If you’ve been around the birthday-party block a few times, you know the possibilities are endless (and can easily become overwhelming). Simplify matters by planning an active birthday party, one that includes plenty of physical activity and good old running around. It’s healthier for everyone, and always a lot of fun. The guests will have such a good time—and be so worn out—they won’t notice if the napkins match the plates or care about what comes in the goodie bags.

And putting active play in the spotlight means less emphasis on cake, ice cream, candy, and presents.

Active Birthday Party Option 1:  Sports Theme

If your child is a sports fan or avid athlete, it’s a no-brainer. You’re all set for a party dedicated to his favorite team or game. You can decorate with team colors, or those that call the chosen sport to mind: black and white for soccer; red, white, and blue for baseball; green and brown for football; and so on. Or you can opt for an all-star sports theme, celebrating many sports with a fun mix of decor and activities.

For games, play the real thing if you have the space (or see option 3, below, for venues to consider). You can also adapt many sports for indoor play. Keep plenty of water on hand for thirsty, sweaty kids, and serve half-time style snacks like orange slices and bananas.

Active Birthday Party Option 2: Active Games for Any Theme

Even if your child wants another, non-sports theme, you can still incorporate plenty of physical activity into the party. Many outdoor and indoor games, as well as relay races, can be adapted to work with different themes—whatever the birthday child enjoys.

Active Birthday Party Option 3:  Active Venue

For the simplest party of all, outsource. You’ll pay a price, but you’ll save wear and tear on your home, as well as planning time. And you might not need extra supplies or equipment. Invite guests to join you for an active outing, such as:

  • bowling
  • inflatables/trampoline center
  • batting cages
  • miniature golf
  • ice skating
  • roller skating
  • gymnastics
  • hiking
  • swimming
  • horseback riding
  • ballet or another type of dance
  • martial arts
  • climbing—outdoors or at a climbing wall or gym
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • volleyball
  • laser tag
  • paintball (for older kids)
  • open gym (at a fitness or community center)
  • school track for a field day event
  • playing at a playground or adventure park

Source:  Very Well

Be Active with Grandparents

Being physically active can be more fun for kids when they’re with someone they love—their grandparents.

Shared time—no matter what the activity—is bonding time.

Infants and toddlers

  • Have grandparents take them for walks in the stroller and rides on their bikes. Don’t forget their helmets.
  • Play games that get their bodies moving—Wheels on the Bus, Pretend We’re Animals, and Hide-and-Seek.
  • Sign them up for baby yoga or exercise classes.
  • Have grandparents take them to baby-friendly swimming classes.

School-aged children

  • Have grandparents walk kids to the park and push their swing.
  • Play catch, kickball, basketball, or soccer.
  • Go swimming or biking together.
  • Play a video fitness game together and see who wins!

Teens and young adults

  • Have grandparents participate in activities that interest the teens and young adults. Try hiking, fishing, skating, or tennis.
  • Go golfing or swimming. Have them participate in physical activities that require two people, such as doubles tennis.
  • Have teens and young adults help their grandparents in their garden or with heavy-duty household chores.

Local Students Participate in Active Kids Summit

On March 4, nationally recognized health and wellness experts joined together at Florida Hospital’s Health Village campus in Orlando to discuss how initiatives such as Let’s Move! Active Schools and local programs can improve children’s health and fitness.  Among the experts were students from Lakemont Elementary and Winter Park High School, who shared their stories about how the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) program and other school based health initiatives have helped them perform better in and out of school.

Owen Clark, 5th grade student at Lakemont Elementary and FUTP60 Program Ambassador, shared a story about how he was able to get a friend of his, who wasn’t very active, to move more through informal football games.

“Once my friend started playing football, he felt better which helped him listen better in class and increase his grades,” Owen said to the group of experts.

Riley Bannatyne, Senior at Winter Park High School and FUTP60 Program Ambassador, talked about how being healthy helps her in and out of school.

“Eating well helps me perform better in academics and athletics,” said Riley, who is also a member of the Winter Park High School Girls’ Lacrosse Team.

Additional students from Lakemont Elementary and Winter Park High School participated in the summit.  One student sat at each table, providing valuable insight into what students value during brainstorming sessions.  As one student mentioned, “If my teacher doesn’t know about brain breaks, I tell her about them.  Pretty soon, the whole class is asking for them.”

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling (Ret.), who transformed the Army’s system for basic training and now serves as Florida Hospital’s Senior Vice President, Global Partnering, Leadership Development and Health Performance Strategies, spoke about the importance and benefits of instilling healthy habits early.

“There’s a direct correlation between good health and good education,” said Hertling, who serves as a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

Be a Healthier Family

family bike ride

Adapted from

Living a healthy, busy and active lifestyle is important for children and adults alike. Establishing an active schedule can help everyone meet exercise goals.

The Let’s Move website offers the following tips for a healthy and active lifestyle for your family:

  • Provide kids with toys that promote physical activity, such as jump ropes, balls and kites.
  • Encourage participation in sports and other exercise.
  • Avoid putting a TV in a child’s room. When you do watch TV, make it a family rule that you don’t sit still during commercials.
  • At least a few times a week during nice weather, plan a safe walk to and from school.
  • Go for a short walk after each meal.
  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
  • Schedule active family fun days at a park.
  • Set exercise goals for the family.