NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Summer Time is Time for Moving

Summer Time is Time for Moving


Getting regular exercise has long been known as an important part of staying healthy.  Unfortunately, Americans are exercising and moving it less and less frequently. Now a new study, which has recently been in the news, suggests that the time we all spend sitting is not just replacing beneficial exercise but is actually, taking years off the life expectancy of the average American.

A new analysis published in the British Medical Journal suggests that the life expectancy of the entire U.S. population could increase if Americans simply reduce the time they spend channel-surfing on the sofa.  Researchers looked at the results of five studies that explored the effects on nearly 167,000 people of sitting and watching television. Then they turned to national data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how much time Americans report sitting and watching TV.

Based on all this data, the researchers calculated that limiting the time Americans spend sitting to three hours or fewer each day would increase the life expectancy of the U.S. population by 2 years. Cutting down TV watching to fewer than two hours each day would bump life expectancy up by another 1.4 years.

Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that the health effects “come not so much from TV watching or driving themselves, but the other things people do during those activities, such as binging on unhealthy snacks or being stressed. "

Physical activity helps with

•controlling weight

•reducing blood pressure

•raising HDL ("good") cholesterol

•reducing the risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancer

•improved psychological well-being, including gaining more self-confidence and higher self-esteem

America’s children are doing more and more sitting – not just school hours but computer and computer game time plus TV all add up to less time spent in physical movement.

The American Heart Association recommends:

•All children age 2 and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day that are developmentally appropriate and varied.

•If your child or children don't have a full 60-minute activity break each day, try to provide at least two 30-minute periods or four 15-minute periods in which they can engage in vigorous activities appropriate to their age, gender and stage of physical and emotional development.


According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 10 percent of children in the United States ages 2 to 5 years old are overweight.

Ways to Encourage Children to Move Outdoors –

-         Visit local parks and recreation areas.

-         Move yourself! Go on a nature hike or take a walk in the neighborhood with your children.

-         Play family tag or think of a fun way to move, such as fly like a rocket ship or swim like a dolphin.

-         Ride bikes and trikes together. Remember to wear helmets!

-         Have a parade.

-         Fly a kite.

Scientists are just beginning to investigate how sitting affects health, and their early research has linked an excess of sitting time to all kinds of chronic maladies, particularly heart disease, diabetes and cancer – let’s not let our children become part of the next study on sitting – move on out to enjoy ND’s summers!






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