(HealthDay)—Back-to-school time provides an opportunity for parents to develop an exercise plan that fits into the family schedules, an expert suggests.
"Forget New Year's resolutions; the start of a child's school year can also be the start of a new fitness and exercise program for parents," Karin Richards, a professor of kinesiology at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, said in a university news release.
With kids' extracurricular activities likely to build up, "it's important for mom and dad to plan ahead to make sure that they are getting the necessary amount of exercise," she said.
Start by creating a weekly or monthly calendar of your work hours, school commitments, appointments and other responsibilities, Richards suggested. This will help you pinpoint the time each day when you have a chance to exercise.
Even if you have only a few 10-minute breaks during the day for exercise, use that time, she said. For example, taking a walk during your lunch break is one way to fit exercise into a busy schedule.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and lift your knees high during each step. Instead of driving your children to the bus stop, walk them to the stop and do calf raises off the curb while waiting for the school bus, Richards suggested.
You can do exercises such as push-ups, planks, bridges and squats at home while helping children with their homework, listening to music or watching television, she said.
Richards also advised squeezing in exercise when you take your children to play sports or do other activities. For example, jog around the field or park while the youngsters are busy.
Don't let schedule overload keep you from adapting a healthy lifestyle, Richards said. "Planning, organizing and even mixing in a quick workout here and there will have moms and dads well on their way to becoming more active and prioritizing exercise in their lives," she added.
Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise—such as brisk walking—a week, along with at least two sessions of strength-building workouts, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about exercise and physical fitness.