May: Physical Activity Month
Though being “on the move” is important all year round, the Government of Québec uses the month of May, which is usually nice and warm, to remind us of how important and enjoyable it is to be physically active. In fact 2015 marks the 21st edition of Physical Education and Sports Month.
The goal is to raise awareness among the general public, especially the younger generation, of the value of adopting a healthy, active lifestyle. Once again this year, hundreds of thousands of young people in more than a thousand schools throughout the Province will be taking part in the various activities organized for the month of May, but especially on May 7th, the designated Quebec Sports and Physical Activity Day. So why not take this opportunity to start fitting exercise into your daily routine unless, of course, it is already a fait accompli?
Practice what you preach
As a parent, you should be a role model and exercise regularly. What you do on a daily basis shows how much you value exercise: kids see their mom leave for her TRX group session or hear their dad say he’s off to the gym for a while. Also, by including the kids in various physical activities on weekends or after school, you let them know how normal and enjoyable daily exercise is. What we do each day strongly influences our children, so it is our responsibility to practice what we preach. Encourage your kids to take a “time-out” from their iPads and computers for 30 to 60 minutes a day and incite them to get up and move—with you! Good habits are built gradually, starting at an early age.
The multiple benefits of physical activity for children
The benefits of physical activity for the physical and psychological health of children (and persons of all ages) cannot be denied. Exercise contributes toward healthy growth and development. It also improves mood, confidence, and self-esteem, three ingredients of happiness. Physical activity also promotes better learning by increasing the brain’s potential to record and handle information, boosts concentration, and improves overall academic performance.
Furthermore, physical exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Many health problems are, in fact, associated with being sedentary, even among young people! The bottom line is that helping your children grow in an environment that encourages physical activity is beneficial to their general well being!
Yet another reason: a tax credit!
The government recently increased from $500 to $1,000 per child the amount eligible for a tax credit relating to registration fees in a program of physical activity. This is a worthwhile income tax refund and a greater incentive to encourage young people to start exercising. The Gym Cool program at Nautilus Plus is specially designed to allow young people to discover the benefits of physical conditioning. This program is an exclusive for those under 16 and the professional support provided by the personal trainers and nutritionists takes into account each child’s stage of development. Parents are encouraged to attend the nutrition counselling sessions with their child to gain precious advice that will allow the whole family to improve their eating habits.
The trigger for starting a fitness program is different from one person to the next. In your case, if exercising isn’t already a way of life, use physical activity month to take charge of your health and fitness and encourage your kids to follow suit. The benefits are many and varied, not just physically, but also mentally and financially. Slip your running shoes on!
For further details on the Gym Cool program:
For further details on the tax credit: http://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/citoyen/credits/activites_enfants/default.aspx
By Karine Larose, M. Sc.
John J. Ratey, SPARK : The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Little Brown and Company, Hachette Book group, 2008, 292 pages.
Health Canada (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/index-eng.php)
visited March 26, 2015