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Leading a healthy lifestyle is great, but it’s even better if you do it as a family. The most important goal is for all family members to participate in physical activities regularly and to keep each other motivated. Check out these tips for Family Fitness.
Family Fitness: Tips For A Healthy Lifestyle
Families that make healthy lifestyle choices together, stay healthy and fit together. I believe that the choices that we make regarding exercise, playing outside, our decision to get involved with team sports, what we have as snacks and meals will affect the decisions that my children make as they grow into adults.
As a parent, I want to be able to give my children as much as possible. And the chance at a long and healthy life definitely fits into that category. By helping our children develop positive attitudes toward healthy lifestyles now, and they’ll be more likely to carry those healthy habits with them into adulthood.
Here are some Tips For A Healthy Family Lifestyle:
Enjoy Activities Together
Pick out common interests to get your family excited about exercise. We decided this year that we would all get new bikes, and with that decision we made a commitment to each other that we would have bike rides (Safety first, always remember your bike helmets) as a family weekly. Some weekend we make it out to a trail and go over 10 miles, and other weekends we just make it around the subdivision, but it is something we are doing together.
I know that every family is different so work with yours to create a list of physical activities everyone enjoys doing together, then think about new activities to try, such as gardening, hiking, playing soccer or baseball at the park, swimming in the summer, sledding or hiking in the winter.
*Tip – As you think of activities, make a list and hang it on the refrigerator or somewhere you will see it on a regular basis. This will not only remind you to keep doing your activities, but it will remind everyone to keep adding fun family activities to the list!
Consider Trying Something New
Ask friends and neighbors if there are fitness clubs or rec centers in your town that have classes. There are often yoga or fitness classes that parents and kids together. If your child is too young to participate, look for classes that help you burn calories by incorporating your baby – think pushing them along during stroller workouts (Stroller Strides) or yoga with babies.
Set Limits On Tech Time
Too often families can find themselves sitting on the comfy couch, playing video-games, or watching movies, these activities don’t really encourage fitness or physical activity. Set time limits on daily television viewing or playing video games to help keep your family moving.
Before making any type of goals, be sure to consider the ages and current fitness levels of everyone in the family. For example, one week, you and your family may take 30-minute walk each night after dinner, then next week, you may walk a little longer and a bit faster. Our kids will ride their bikes while my husband and I run, that is another example of still being together as a family, but working out at different levels.
It can be motivating (even fun!) to track your family’s fitness goals. You can write them down or use one of those activity trackers. They make activity trackers just for kids, so they are a bit more fun than the ones for us adults. Be sure to review your goals every now and then to see if they need to be increased. The most important goal is for all family members to participate in physical activities regularly and to keep each other motivated.
Nothing is Perfect
Have we missed one of our family bike rides? Of course we have. But does that mean we decided we might as well stop all together? Nope. Life happens. Things come up all the time. Do your best to not get discouraged and just be excited to plan that next ride/walk/hiking trip etc. It takes time to build healthier habits!
Talk about the Importance of Good Nutrition and Healthy Eating (and SHOW your kids how to eat healthy)
We are HUGE fans of taking along a picnic lunch or packing healthy snacks when we will be out for an extended period. Fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, cheese, trail mix, beef and turkey jerky are all good ideas! Whether it be for our bike ride or because we are at all the ball field all day, having healthy snack options on hand encourages healthy eating long term.
The best way to teach children about foods that are healthy for their bodies is to model eating healthy foods. Talking about good nutrition can be as easy as explaining that we eat foods from different food groups to make sure our bodies get the different vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy and strong.
As the parent, it is your job to make meals that include foods that are healthy and that everyone enjoys. I post a bunch of recipes here on the blog that are not only cost-effective, but healthy and easy to make. I know we all get busy and I know that the last thing you want to think about sometimes is “What’s for dinner” but I am here to help! Delicious and healthy meals are easier than you think.
Here are a few reader favorite Fix It an Forget It Slow Cooker recipes to get you started:
*Tip – Bring the kids to the farmers’ market or grocery store and let them pick out the fruits and vegetables for the week and let them help in the food preparation. If they are involved in the process, they are more likely to eat the foods. You can also schedule a Family Cooking Competition, this is a great way to have fun in the kitchen making healthy meals.
- Get active
- Have fun
- Eat healthy
One of the best things we can do for our children today is to give them knowledge and show them lifestyle that will help them live happy and healthy lives tomorrow. I always tell my kids if I went for a run or a bike ride that day or went to Jazzercise, they need to know that it’s part of my life.