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The Healthy Mind Platter with Aspen's In-Home Family Support: Part Three

Physical Time

Welcome back to our third blog post on Dr. Dan Siegel's Healthy Mind Platter. Today, we will be focusing on Physical Time. According to Statistics Canada, 84% of Canadian adults are not meeting the daily physical activity recommendations. This means, we are simply not active enough. Now, one could only assume with the current restrictions placed on Alberta (closed gyms, cancelled classes and paused recreational activities) that this already staggering statistic will most likely increase. If you are interested in information and tips on how to keep you and your family active during this transition, then this is the blog post for you!

The Connection of the Brain and Body
Dan Siegel himself said it best: “When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible, we strengthen the brain in many ways.” There are many benefits to getting active, here are just a few of them as stated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada:

  • Increased energy;
  • Decreased stress levels;
  • Improved sleep (and we know how important this is from last week’s blog post);
  • Improved digestion;
  • Lowered risk for heart disease and stroke;
  • Reduced risk factors for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity and certain types of cancers.

There is also a direct link with our physical bodies and our mental health. Let`s talk about what happens inside our brain when we exercise. When we exercise and get our bodies moving, chemicals called dopamine and endorphins are released. These chemicals are associated with making you feel “good” or “happy”. Not only is your brain releasing “feel good” chemicals while exercising, it also helps you eliminate chemicals that cause stress and anxiety. Basically, exercise creates a win-win situation for both your physical and mental health.

For more information on this topic check out the Centre of Disease Controls website on Physical Activity Basics (

Here's What We Know:

0-4 years of age need 180 minutes of activity each day, at any intensity, spread throughout the day

5-11 years of age need 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous intensity of physical activity daily

12-17 years of age need 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous intensity of physical activity daily

18-64 years of age need 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous aerobic physical activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more

65+ need 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous aerobic physical activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more

For more information on these recommendations check out:

Feeling Stumped on how to get moving? Here are some ideas for the whole family:

  • Put on your favourite music and have a dance party with your family;
  • Try a fun virtual class. Many local businesses have stepped up and created free/live videos to keep you moving. Check out the social media platforms for your favourite neighbourhood yoga studio, barre studio, etc. to see what they are offering;
  • If you or your child(ren) were registered in a class or sports team see what they are offering. Many registered activities are offering continued online classes;
  • Workout “with” a friend- Facetime your friend and workout “together”;
  • Get outdoors! (Go for a walk or bike ride while following appropriate social distancing and health precautions as directed by the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services);
  • Create an indoor and outdoor scavenger hunt for your children;
  • Break up extended sitting time. Every time a commercial comes on get up and move around or set timers on your phone to remind you to take a body break;
  • Try some fun apps and websites dedicated to get you moving such as:

Go noodle

Go Noodle is a great resource that many educators use to provide their class with a fun a Body Break! You can try it at home for free.


Participation offers a fun app that tracks your progress and provides reward! On this app you will find activities, articles and videos and more!

Down Dog app

A personal favourite app for one of the in-home team members. This app provides Hiit, yoga, barre, 7 min workouts that are all currently free.

Barre Body

Free online streamed classes for adults and children through their Facebook page

Tips to Get Moving:

  1. Schedule physical time into your daily routine. Just as children have a daily set time for recess or gym class, try scheduling in some movement and body breaks for you and the family.
  2. Switch up the activities and try something new to keep physical time exciting. Try a yoga class, make up a fun dance with your family, try a live streamed class, etc.
  3. Set realistic goals for yourself. This may not be the time to train for a marathon, or maybe it will be, but be sure to set SMART goals for yourself.
  4. Check your smartphone- did you know that many phones already track and log your daily movement? Explore your phones features to see what it offers.

Now, trust us when we say there is no judgement here. We have all had our fair share of days where the only “exercise” that has been done is walking to and from the kitchen to the couch. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself the time to rest and relax; however, remember that being kind to your body also means to get moving. If you miss a day of movement, that’s okay, try again the following day! Hopefully you found these tips and suggestions helpful to get you and your family up and moving.

We will continue the conversation next week with a discussion on Focus Time!

Love your friendly, neighbourhood In-Home Family Support team!