Staying physically fit with family fun

The sound of cardio equipment and iron clinking fills the air. The smell of exercise floor mats is like a catalyst which ignites one's desire to push themselves through a sweat-inducing workout. The gym is a great place to get in shape and better your physical health, but you don't have to have a club membership to be physically active everyday.The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports 28.7% of Texans are obese. A study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2007-2008 indicates an estimated 16.9% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese in the United States. Our physical well-being, as well as our families, is under attack and we have the power to fight back.Being active helps reduce the risk of obesity and other chronic health problems. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults (aged 18-64) get 45 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity most days of the week to maintain weight. Children and adolescents (aged 6-17) should do one hour or more of physical activity everyday.Here are a few family-friendly activities, from the American Dietetic Association, to get your household moving without a gym membership or busting your budget:-Turn off the television and explore your yard, neighborhood, playground or park. Go as a family.-Walk or bike with your kids when you can. You'll benefit from it physically and mentally while you save on gas fill-ups.-Go for a brisk walk during your lunch hour or after dinner.-Take the stairs whenever possible.-Walk in place while watching television-Plan an active family vacation or a weekend outing.-Sign your child up for a local sports league, team or camp.-Run through the sprinklers when it's hot outside.-Give your house a thorough cleaning. Wash the inside of your windows, vacuum or shampoo the carpet or clean out your closets.-Watch and follow and exercise video or DVD rather than a movie.The 2003 "Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Study" conducted by the American Dietetic Association Foundation revealed that parents (and caregivers) have the potential to influence the behavior of their children more than anyone else. So be a good role model and provide your kids with opportunities for family fun.This nutritional message has been brought to you by Outreach Health Services WIC Program. WIC provides nutritious foods and nutrition counseling to pregnant, breast-feeding and post-partum women, and infants and children up to age five, as well as breast-feeding assistance to pregnant and breast-feeding women. Call your local WIC clinic at 235-3036 or come by 411 E. Third to see if you qualify.