Moms who lead active lifestyles and get regular physical exercise tend to have children who are also physically active, according to a new study conducted by British researchers. Importantly, the study could not definitively conclude that the correlation only went into the mother-to-child direction--it was also possible that more active kids demanded more physical involvement (also known as baby-chasing) from their mothers. Because of this possibility, the researchers urged both parents and children to be mindful of their activity levels, and increase them to a healthy level whenever possible.
[Lead author Esther] van Sluijs says just small changes – walking to the park instead of driving or playing a good game of tag instead of a board game – can make a difference.
"Increasing your physical activity just by a little bit already helps, you don't have to become an athlete." she says. "If you look at [small increases in activity] over a month or a year, that can actually have quite large benefits."
Fathers weren't part of the study, but van Sluijs says that doesn't mean the call for more exercise should single out mothers.
"We do recommend that interventions are not just targeted at mothers and their children," she tells Shots. "They're actually targeted at the family unit because we know that siblings as well play an important role for children's physical activity."
Image: Mother and son doing yoga, via Shutterstock