Helping Your Family to Be More Active
It’s no secret that physical activity can help prevent serious health problems, such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. But studies also show that an active lifestyle provides a great way of connecting with your family—while reducing stress and improving communication.
Get your family on the road to fitness by following these simple steps:
Set a Good Example. Don’t just talk about getting more active. Make exercise a priority every day, and you just may motivate the rest of the family to do the same. Let kids see you taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking your dog for a long walk or working out in the yard. By making healthy choices in your own life, you help establish good habits in your children.
Create a Routine. One of the biggest challenges to staying fit is finding the time to exercise. Commit to at least 30–60 minutes of daily exercise and get in the habit of planning regular activities throughout the week. Sign up for a new class, enjoy a bike ride after dinner or plan a family outing for Saturday morning. Your family will look forward to these activities once you make them part of your regular routine.
Limit Screen Time. You may be shocked to learn just how much time your kids are spending in front of the television. Make an effort to monitor and limit screen time (including TV, video games and computers) to no more than two hours per day. And do not allow your child to have a TV or computer in his or her bedroom. You might also encourage kids to choose video games that promote physical activity.
Get Creative. Let’s face it, not everyone enjoys fitness classes and competitive sports. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an active lifestyle. Experiment with different activities until you find the ones that best suit your needs. Give everyone in the family the chance to choose a favorite activity, whether it’s an afternoon hike or a trip to the local skating rink. You might also create a family fitness challenge setting goals and awarding those with the most miles or minutes logged.