Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chasing Kids Not The Workout It Seems - Many Moms Aren’t As Active As They Think, Research Finds

“Busy moms who chase after young children may feel like they are run ragged by the end of the day. But unless they’ve managed to squeeze in an actual workout, they may not have engaged in as much physical activity as they think. In a study of 58 women with children under age 6, only about a third of the mothers got an average of 30 minutes or more a day of moderate or greater intensity physical activity. And yet overall this group of women, most of whom also worked outside the home, believed they were getting upwards of an hour of activity daily. ‘There was this ongoing theme of the women reporting more activity than they actually were getting,’ says study author Kelli O'Neil, a personal trainer who is on the exercise science faculty at Central College in Pella, Iowa. Federal physical activity guidelines released last year recommend that adults get at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous activity. The guidelines also recommend activities to strengthen all major muscle groups at least two days a week. In the study, the women wore a device to monitor their physical activity for a week. They also completed a questionnaire about their exercise involvement. Much to the surprise of many participants, results showed that running after kids didn’t account for as much physical activity as the women thought. ‘The most physical activity actually came from sports and exercise,’ says O’Neil, who completed the research while studying at the University of Iowa. She presented it at a meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. ‘The women who are meeting physical activity guidelines report higher levels of sports and exercise,” she says, ‘and those are planned behaviors.’ Gyms that offer child care are a plus, provided the children go for it. Otherwise, moms — and dads, too — who like to exercise at a health club may need to get creative, exercising in the early mornings or evenings when a partner or someone else can watch the kids, or during lunch hour at work.”

No comments: