PHYS ED FOR PAR­ENTS

Moms and dads can in­volve kids to find time for fit­ness

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - HEALTH - By Michilea Pat­ter­son mpat­ter­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @MichileaP on Twit­ter

Schools are back in ses­sion and that can mean pretty hec­tic sched­ules for par­ents with all the drop-offs, pick­ups and ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. It’s no won­der that some moms and dads have a dif­fi­cult time find­ing an op­por­tu­nity to ex­cise.

Younger kids that aren’t en­rolled in school yet can also put time con­straints on par­ents’ sched­ules.

“Par­ents with chil­dren aged 18 or younger are also slightly more likely than those with­out a child in their home to be obese or over­weight; with par­ents of 5-to18-year-olds the most likely to have a body mass index that puts them ei­ther in the obese or over­weight cat­e­gory,” stated a 2010 Gallup ar­ti­cle pub­lished on the web­site www.gallup.com/poll/141014/par­entsstrug­gle-fit-ex­er­cise.aspx.

The ar­ti­cle used find­ings from about 60,000 in­ter­views with Amer­i­cans as part of the Gallup-Health­ways Well-Be­ing Index. The ar­ti­cle also stated that Amer­i­cans with chil­dren in the home re­ported ex­er­cis­ing less often than those who didn’t have chil­dren at home.

Marie Haigh, of Pottstown, has three chil­dren and home schools them. She finds times for ex­er­cise by in­cor­po­rat­ing it into her day and in­volv­ing her kids as much as pos­si­ble. Haigh said she once tried to do an ex­er­cise DVD se­ries af­ter the chil­dren went to bed.

“That lasted for like maybe three days,” she said adding that she was ex­hausted and los­ing valu­able sleep time.

Now, Haigh just finds time for fit­ness in her reg­u­lar sched­ule. Any­time the kids go to the pool she uses that as op­por­tu­nity to swim right along with them. Haigh said she runs around as much as pos­si­ble when tak­ing the kids to the play­ground.

“I Just try to in­cor­po­rate it (ex­er­cise) right into our day oth­er­wise it doesn’t get done,” she said.

Haigh and her chil­dren also par­tic­i­pate in sev­eral area ac­tiv­i­ties like reg­u­lar com­mu­nity bike rides through the neigh­bor­hood. She con­nects a trailer and tag-along piece to her bi­cy­cle so all three chil­dren can ride along as she bikes. Haigh also took all three of her chil­dren to com­mu­nity 1-mile walks in the sum­mer and the fam­ily walks on a reg­u­lar ba­sis for trans­porta­tion to the li­brary, play­ground and stores.

Haigh said be­ing able to ex­er­cise as a fam­ily and with oth­ers re­ally helps her to be able to fit fit­ness in her sched­ule. She is a mem­ber of the No Ex­cuse Mom Group of Pottstown. The group helps moms stay healthy by con­nect­ing with oth­ers and sup­port­ing one another. There are mom groups around the world that of­fer free work­out op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It’s won­der­ful be­cause the chil­dren are al­ways wel­come,” Haigh said.

She said the Pottstown group is usu­ally done at a park where there is a play­ground for the chil­dren. There are even on­line work­outs that mem­bers can view on their own time. Cur­rently the Pottstown group has more than 200 mem­bers and in­ter­ested moms can re­quest to join the group at www.face­book.com/groups/noex­cuse­mom­pottstown.

“I Just try to in­cor­po­rate it (ex­er­cise) right into our day oth­er­wise it doesn’t get done.” — Marie Haigh, par­ent of three

To find other No Ex­cuse Mom ex­er­cise lo­ca­tions, visit www. noex­cuse­mom.com.

There are also sup­port re­sources for fa­thers that want to be healthy. Fit Fa­thers is a non­profit cor­po­ra­tion with an ed­u­ca­tional web­site. The web­site in­cludes in­for­ma­tion on fit­ness tips, nour­ish­ment strate­gies and to­tal well­ness.

“Stay ac­tive, eat clean and con­tinue to en­er­gize your life,” is the mantra stated on the web­site www.fit­fa­thers.com.

Fa­thers can take the Fit Fa­ther Pledge on the web­site which in­cludes com­mit­ting to ex­er­cis­ing three to five days a week, eat­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles daily and get­ting reg­u­lar check­ups.

For more healthy liv­ing sto­ries in­clud­ing recipes, visit the Fit for Life web­site at pottsmer­c­fit4life.com.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHO­TOS

Stu­dents and their par­ents dance to a video dur­ing a Fam­ily Well­ness Night at Barth Ele­men­tary School in Pottstown.

A mom walks her daugh­ter in a stroller dur­ing an af­ter­noon walk along the Schuylkill River Trail in Pottstown.

Marc Har­ris and his son Mah­jes­tee Har­ris race as a team in the sack races dur­ing the Fa­thers Mat­ter field day in Pottstown.

Marie Haigh does a free out­door Zumba fit­ness class in Pottstown with her chil­dren. Danc­ing is a great phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity that the whole fam­ily can en­joy.

Adults and chil­dren par­tic­i­pate in an out­door Zumba class at Memo­rial Park in Pottstown.

Laura Wash­ing­ton and her son Nikko walk along the side­walk in Pottstown dur­ing a group af­ter­noon mile-walk.

El­liott Liver­man and Shasean Kellman race to the fin­ish line in sack races dur­ing the Fa­thers Mat­ter field day held at Memo­rial Park in Pottstown.

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