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Celebrate National Physical Therapy Month With Some "Smart Moves" for Your Family

In recognition of National Physical Therapy Month, the American Physical Therapy Association is focusing on fitness and wellness. The organization offers these tips for families to prevent and combat obesity.

● Plan weekend family activities involving physical activity, such as hiking, swimming, bicycling, mini-golf, tennis, or bowling.

● Help your child plan physical activities with friends and neighbors, such as skating or softball.

● Have your kids brainstorm a “rainy day” game plan of indoor activities such as fitness games such as Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution.

● Remember that your family does not need to join a health club or buy fancy equipment to be active. Walking is inexpensive and easy. So is designing a backyard obstacle course. Weights can be made from soda or detergent bottles filled with sand or water!

● Provide positive rewards for your child when he or she engages in physical activities, such as workout clothes, a new basketball, or an evening of roller-skating.

● Provide positive feedback about your child's lifestyle changes. Remember not to focus on the scale (for you or your child).

● Be your child's "exercise buddy." Plan daily walks or bike rides and set goals together for increasing physical activity rather than for losing weight. It’s also great “bonding” time!

● As you schedule your child's extracurricular activities, remember to plan time for exercise and activity as a priority for the entire family. Don't just "squeeze it in."

● Encourage children to try individualized sports such as tennis and swimming. Studies show such activities are the basis of lifelong fitness habits.

● Parents and children can do exercises while watching television (or at least during commercials), such as sit-ups, push-ups or running in place. Discourage snacking or eating meals while watching.