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Research shows link between regular physical activity and healthy lifestyle

Maureen WeissMaureen Weiss, professor in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, along with her co-author Lynn Barnett, University of Illinois, published a book chapter in Leisure, Health, and Wellness: Making the Connections. The title of their chapter is "Children's physical activity and healthy development: Physical, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits."

The purpose of the book was to pair scholars in physical activity/health with scholars in recreation/leisure to produce a set of papers on how varying physical activity contexts can promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles in children through older adults. In their chapter, Weiss and Barnett review the literature on psychosocial and behavioral benefits afforded children and youth by participating in contexts such as free play, recreation/outdoor leisure, organized sports, and motor development programs.

Using the tagline, "Get up and play an hour a day," promoted by the Ladies Professional Golf Association for getting children more active, the authors offer take-home messages to parents, educators, and professionals working with children in physical activity contexts. These include providing optimal skill challenges, making sure physical activity experiences are enjoyable, creating a mastery motivational climate, maximizing social support, being a positive physical activity role model, and helping children help themselves by teaching them self-regulating skills and behaviors.

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